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Hilary Mantel and “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher”

wolf-hall-mantelTwo-time Booker Award-Winner Hilary Mantel has everyone in quite an uproar. The bestselling author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies has released a new short story, titled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: August 6th, 1983. And as if the title wasn’t shocking enough, even more incredible is Mantel’s admission that the inspiration for the piece comes not from her imagination, but from her own past. She remembers a day in her own life, in 1983, when she spied (then) Prime Minister Thatcher, alone and unguarded, from her flat window. She makes no secret of her loathing of Thatcher, and has related how the spotting of her led to a fantasy about killing her.

What isn’t surprising at all is that the story immediately generated outrage and controversy. The Daily Telegraph allegedly paid a large sum of money for the rights to first publication, only to pull out of the same deal once details of the story came to light.

While Mantel is quite decisive about her feelings toward Thatcher as a person and politician (she refers at one point to her “boiling detestation” of her), she does acknowledge the good that may have come to her own career as a result, saying “[a]s a citizen, I suffered from her but, as a writer, I benefited”.

You can make up your own mind on the story’s merits. Read The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: August 6th, 1983 on The Guardian.

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