Hilary Mantel has won the 2012 Man Booker Prize with her novel Bring Up The Bodies, becoming the first British author to win twice.
The bookie's favourite picked up the prestigious award - and £50,000 ($80,500) in prize money - at a ceremony in Central London.
Accepting the prize, she joked: "You wait 20 years for a Booker to come along, and then two come at once!".
"Now I have to go away and write the third part of this trilogy. Believe me I have no expectations I will be standing here again!"
Bring Up The Bodies, Mantel's 13th novel, is the sequel to 2009's Wolf Hall, for which she also won the Booker. Set in 1535, it traces the efforts of Thomas Cromwell, chief Minister to Henry VIII, to keep the peace during the the final days of Anne Boleyn.
Mantel fought off competition from Will Self, who had also been a strong favourite in the build up to the award with Umbrella, Tan Twan Eng for The Garden of Evening Mists, Deborah Levy for Swimming Home, Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis and Alison Moore who was shortlisted with her debut novel The Lighthouse.
This year's Booker saw a conscious effort to refocus on so-called 'serious' literature after the 2011 panel were accusing of dumbing down the prize by repeatedly referring to 'readability'.
"I had a very clear idea what the Man Booker tradition has been in my lifetime and we stuck to it," said Stothard when revealing the shortlist in September, adding that they were looking to find the novels that would still be read 20 years from now.
In the short term, Mantel can expect to see sales of Bring Up The Bodies continue to increase dramatically following her success - previous winners, such as Howard Jacobson in 2010, have seen sales figures rise by almost 2000% in the weeks following their victory.
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