The novelist Hilary Mantel has definitively updated our idea of Henry VIII—and our notion of what historical fiction can be. In her stylistically daring and formally inventive novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” she focuses on a less well-known figure who’s always been depicted as kind of a weasel: Thomas Cromwell. He was the son of a blacksmith who maneuvered his way to become Henry’s right-hand man. The novels have been huge bestsellers, and they both won the Man Booker Prize. The books have been adapted into a Masterpiece Theater miniseries on PBS and a two-part, five-and-a-half hour show that ran on Broadway, both called “Wolf Hall.”
I produced this interview with Mantel for Studio 360.