ACCLAIMED writer of historical fiction Hilary Mantel collected her £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for The Mirror and the Light at this year’s Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival taking the prestigious accolade for the second time, having first won the prize 12 years ago, in its inaugural year.

On winning the prize, Mantel said: “I’m so happy, personally, that The Mirror and the Light has won this recognition. It was certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I know the author isn’t always the best person to judge, but it seems to me to be the strongest of my trilogy of novels about Thomas Cromwell. It launched the trilogy in fine style when the first volume Wolf Hall won the Walter Scott Prize, and now this rounds off the many years of effort.”

As well as the £25,000 prize, Mantel was also presented with a photograph of an iconic Borders landscape, taken by renowned photographer Walter Dalkeith.

While visiting the Borders Book Festival, Mantel also presented with their awards three of the four winners of the Young Walter Scott Prizes 2019 and 2020.

The 2020 Young Walter Scott Prize winners were: Madeleine Friedlein for her Slaying Holofernes, inspired by the visual artist Artemisia Gentileschi’s painting Judith Slaying Holofernes, displayed in the National Gallery in 2020, and which the winner viewed as an online exhibition during the first lockdown in Spring 2020; and Atlas Weyland Eden, whose We Wolves is set 35,000 years ago in the steppe of Central Europe, before the written word and static settlements, on the eve of the next phase of human evolution.

One of the 2019 winners, Ide Crawford, whose prize-giving could not go ahead in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, also attended this year to collect her award for her story The Whale’s Way.

Mantel presented each of the winners with their travel grants of £500 and a signed copy of The Mirror and the Light. All winning and highly commended writers also see their work published in the special Young Walter Scott Prize anthology each year.