Famous author and Budleigh Salterton resident Hilary Mantel has died following a short illness.

Hilary Mantel has died aged 70 after a short illness, it was announced by her family this morning, (September 23).

Hilary lived in Budleigh Salterton for many years, and was President of the Budleigh Litarary Festival. 

It was announced earlier this year that Hilary was to move from Budleigh to Ireland with Husband Gerald.

A spokesman for Budleigh Literary Festival said: "It is with enormous sadness that we learn of the sudden death of Dame Hilary Mantel. Hilary had been a supportive and involved President of the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival for many years and was always interested in our programme and supportive of our plans. She was committed to the extent that she had intended to remain as President despite her plans to move to Ireland. We will miss her beyond measure. The world has lost a hugely talented writer, and a warm, generous-hearted woman. Budleigh Salterton has lost a friend. Our hearts go out to her husband Gerald at this very sad time."

The author is best known for her epic The Wolf Hall Trilogy of which Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford theology professor and biographer of Thomas Cromwell said: “Hilary has reset the historical patterns through the way in which she’s reimagined the man.”

Hilary won the Man Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year.

The conclusion to her ground-breaking The Wolf Hall Trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020 to huge critical acclaim, an instant number one fiction best-seller and longlisted for The Booker Prize 2020 and winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which she first won for Wolf Hall.

A statement from Hilary's publishers Harper Collins added: "We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald. This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work."