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"Sheer bigness"

Hilary Mantel wins the Man Booker Prize

Despite heavy last-minute betting on Simon Mawer, the pre-announcement favourite Hilary Mantel duly won the Man Booker Prize last night for her novel Wolf Hall. The chairman of the judges, James Naughtie, said the decision to give the prize to Mantel had been "based on the sheer bigness of the book". If "bigness" was the criterion to which the judges were working, then quieter, smaller books, such as Mawer's The Glass Rooom or J M Coetzee's Summertime (the NS's choice for the prize), probably never stood a chance.