The NPR host asks the two-time Man Booker Prize winner about her "alien" body
Hilary Mantel is the first woman to win two Man Booker Prizes, first in 2009 for “Wolf Hall,” and then in 2012 for its sequel, “Bring Up the Bodies.” Mantel also suffers from a condition known as “Endometriosis,” a debilitating disease in which cells usually found in the womb grow in other parts of the body.
Yesterday, the writer gave an in-depth, uninterrupted description of her life-long struggle with the disease, which became “a crisis” for her. But what NPR’s Terry Gross was most fascinated by, it seemed, was Mantel’s weight.
She broached the subject awkwardly, at first:
GROSS: So correct me if I’m wrong here. But because of the steroids that you are on to help with your condition…
GROSS: …and I think because of a thyroid condition as well, your weight just about doubled.
GROSS: And you ended up with a completely different body…
MANTEL: That’s right. Yes.
GROSS: …than the one you used to have. How did that change the sense of who you are?
After Gross finally got to a question, Mantel conceded that she was, in fact, “a fat woman” and it took her a while to get used to that:
MANTEL: Well, I live my life as a skinny little thing and that’s the body type in my family. And, you know, I thought I’d get old but I never thought I’d get fat. And I was given a particular drug – and I’m going back 20 years now – where my weight just went crazy and I had to, my size changed every week and I ended up , as you say, doubling my body weight and a lot of that gain took place over very short period of about nine months, so I didn’t recognize myself and I still have trouble. When I see myself in dreams now I’m a fat woman, but for the first 20 years, I should say, I saw myself as I used to be and then I’d wake up and I’d think, who is this? What is all this flesh?
The awkwardness continued, as Gross then piled on to Mantel’s descriptions, calling Mantel’s body “this alien thing that you ended up in.”
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More Prachi Gupta.
More Related Stories
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- Man arrested for sending Craigslist sex party to neighbor's house
- Greek yogurt, toxic waste hazard?
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Pope Francis: Atheists are all right!
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- Is recreational pot use safe?
- How I ended up in a pyramid scheme
- My bipolar partner beat me
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- Kicked out of the mall -- for an anti-cancer hat
- Why do men pretend to be women online?
- Pa. governor "can't find" any Latinos to work in his administration
- Conservative group blames military sexual assault on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
- Is Pittsburgh the next Portland?
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11