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'It's still you and a blank screen.'

30 July 2012

'If your main concern is looking over your shoulder for which writer might be a bigger hit than you, then you're not really concentrating on your core activity. It's not a race and it's not a contest. It's not the Olympics. When I was last shortlisted for the Orange Prize they make you line up in a slightly embarrassing way to have your photograph taken, as if you were a sort of can-can line. And we all held hands behind our backs. I can't really picture the boys doing that.

My perception of myself hasn't changed at all, obviously. Other people's perception of me has. But when you go to work every day it's just the same old struggle. It wouldn't matter if you had won six Booker prizes. It's still you and a blank screen.'

Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies in The Times