Help! I need an intelligent question to ask...

(34 Posts)

Hilary Mantel! I am going to a talk she is giving tomorrow and as DH is helping to organise, I may (please, please, please God) get to meet her. I expect we will be able to ask questions after the talk (about her new book) and if I do meet her 'properly' afterwards I would like to say something that doesn't make me look a complete lemon.

So, any suggestions for questions about her work, and also general chit chat? I'd like to ask her who in current public life she thinks most resemble Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn, but I bet she won't answer that one!

If I do meet her, I'll report back...

LEMisdisappointed Thu 19-Sep-13 18:27:06

Who is she?

Clearly i am not the person you are looking for smile

LEM She's won the Man Booker prize twice - she writes mainly historical fiction. Worth checking out.

When I say 'fiction' I mean based on real events. So her interpretation of them, if you see what I mean.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 19-Sep-13 18:52:58

Ah, she wrote wolf hall didn't she? not that ive read it, maybe i'll have a go - i liked the White Queen.

I should say, be yourself smile

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 21:09:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

letsgetreadytoramble Thu 19-Sep-13 21:12:42

Maybe ask her if she found it tricky to get a balance between writing an engaging story and creating a convincing historical backdrop. I found that both her books tended to include a bit too much historical detail, such as the scenes in the courtroom, and would be interested to know if she struggled with whether to include certain details or not. Lucky you getting to meet her!

nicename Thu 19-Sep-13 21:14:49

Can you see of that's her real voice?

I imagine she'd probably not want a really deep and meaningful question. I'd love it if someone asked me where I got my shoes from (shallow).

I really don't like historical novels. "As she looked into the mirror, Elizabeth 1 thought 'I really should chop off that peaky Maryt's head', now, where's my face-whitener and wig..."

That is so unhelpful. Sorry. Off for more wine (tough day).

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 21:19:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 19-Sep-13 21:27:56

Ask her if she watched The White Queen.

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 19-Sep-13 21:29:30

Also get her to play 'shag, marry or dump' with the following: Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk.
(But not Thomas Cromwell because that would be too easy.)

Oh thank you, some good ideas here! I think I saw Hilary a few months ago in a park (she lives locally) and I recognised her but didn't twig that it was her until afterwards, and I smiled in a vague 'I recognise you' way and she gave me a nice smile back. So I think that she's pretty friendly.

She's obviously a very thoughtful person and must have a great deal of empathy to put herself in someone else's shoes so convincingly. I just am rather in awe of that amount of talent. Sometimes I would look up from Wolf Hall or Bring Up the Bodies and feel as if I'd been time travelling.

Turnip - horrible choice!

Marry Wolsey

Shag Howard (Cromwell if I'm allowed)

Dump More

Ugh

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 21:59:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 22:00:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 19-Sep-13 22:05:09

I'm not convinced Crom was really as lovely or More as horrible as Mantel paints them.
Yes yes I know More burned heretics, but it's just what people did in those days....

(Also, Mantel just takes all the stories and rumours about More and presents them as if they're true, which she's perfectly allowed to do, but it doesn't mean they were.) <sticks up for More>

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 19-Sep-13 22:07:27

Good question LaQ.
I think it's a combination of him being tremendously powerful, and having that ability that very charming people have in RL of making you feel like they are focused completely on you.

LaQueen I reckon it's the combination of strength and power and the vulnerability of Crommers which make him so attractive. He can look after himself (all that soldiering) as well as being jolly clever, and he adored his family. And he turned down Mary Boleyn when she threw herself at him, very sensibly as it turned out.

EsTutMirLeid Thu 19-Sep-13 22:13:57

Can you ask her why she can't punctuate?!

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 19-Sep-13 22:17:37

Yes, the fact that she makes him physically powerful as well as politically. And the vulnerability, definitely, and self-control. It's far sexier that he turns down Mary Boleyn than it would be if he'd gone for her. Refusing beautiful women is always sexy. Attractive detectives do it a lot (eg Inspector Morse - not fanciable to our generation but was to older people).

Jux Thu 19-Sep-13 22:18:22

It has been suggested that her winning the MB twice is an indication of the falling standards. Does she agree?

How does she feel about it being opened up to US authors?

Personally, I think she's shit, so would say yes to the first.

Jux I can see myself being torn apart by Mantel fans if I ask that. Or at least, given a solid shunning. Anyway, I think she's great.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 22:24:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waswondering Thu 19-Sep-13 22:28:01

What book would she grab in the airport when dashing to her gate?

Is there a particular book that she read as a teenager that stayed with her ....

maillotjaune Fri 20-Sep-13 09:55:40

As I loved A Place of Greater Safety as well I might ask: Cromwell or Danton?

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