|Hilary Mantel was the oldest child of Irish Catholic immigrants. Educated at a convent school, she also studied law at the London School of Economics. Instead of practicing law, however, she became a social worker and then realized that what she really wanted to do was write. She has lived in Africa and in Saudi Arabia, the settings for various of her novels. In 1987 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize. In addition to writing fiction, Mantel also writes book reviews and short stories. Married to a geologist, Mantel has no children: misdiagnosed in her youth, she was finally proved to have endometriosis, which made her infertile--a condition that, she says in her autobiography published in 2003, has been one of the vital and devastating facts of her life. WOLF HALL, Mantel's captivating fictional revision of the life of Thomas Cromwell, won her the 2009 Man Booker Prize.