Mantel climbs Amazon charts as press storm continues

Mantel climbs Amazon charts as press storm continues

Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall has climbed the Amazon charts following saturation media coverage of her comments about the Duchess of Cambridge, with Alison Weir, Julie Burchill and A N Wilson the latest pundits to offer their opinions in the press.

In the historical fiction chart, Mantel's Man Booker-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies are at numbers two and four, with the digital edition of Wolf Hall at number three.

Minna Fry, associate publisher at Fourth Estate, said: “In e-book sales, we noticed around 100% increase in sales of Wolf Hall yesterday (19th February) as compared to the day before. We’re pleased that many people are still keen to see what Hilary has to say, and have not been put off by the negative press attention.”

The novelist hit the front pages of the Daily Mail and the Metro yesterday following a lecture she gave about the monarchy, later printed in the London Review of Books, which included descriptions of Catherine Middleton as: "designed by committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindle of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished".

A storm of comment and counter-comment surrounding her words, and the interpretation placed upon them in the press, has seen widely varying opinions voiced, including by the Guardian and the Telegraph.

Writing in the Telegraph, historian and novelist Alison Weir criticised Mantel's views, and said: "I have long admired Hilary Mantel's work, but what was she thinking as delivered her lecture?" She added: "Such thinking reflects a very modern, post-feminist, literary luvvie view of the role of royal women, and indeed the institution of monarchy in general."

In the Guardian, Hadley Freeman attacked the way the media had twisted Mantel's words, and said: "This kind of extrapolation is reminiscent of when a critic describes a film as 'astonishingly bad' and the film poster then claims the critic describes it as 'astonishing!'."

Julie Burchill and A N Wilson have voiced opposing opinions in today's Daily Mail.

Politicians have waded into the debate, with Prime Minister David Cameron taking time out from a trade delegation trip to India to say he thinks Mantel "writes great books", but "what she said about Kate Middleton is completely misguided, and completely wrong". Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, also commented, saying: "These are pretty offensive remarks. Kate Middleton is doing a brilliant job in a difficult role."

The story has also been picked up internationally, with stories in the New York Times and the Australian.



Photo: Mantel wins the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Bring up The Bodies c. Janie Airey