Best-selling Devon author Hilary Mantel could make literary history after being shortlisted for this year's £30,000 Costa Book Award.
Bring Up The Bodies – the second part of her trilogy about Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell – was this week named as winner of the Costa novel section. It was awarded the Man Booker Prize for fiction in October.
Mrs Mantel, who lives in Budleigh Salterton, is now in the running to become the first person to win the Booker and Costa for the same title. Costa judges described the story as "quite simply the best novel of the year".
In a break from the inevitable round of interviews, Mrs Mantel spoke to the Western Morning News at her seafront home.
"I am thrilled," she said. "It is lovely because this is the first time I have even featured on a Costa shortlist so I've never won a Costa before."
Bring Up The Bodies is now up against Kathleen Jamie's The Overhaul, which won the poetry section, Sally Gardiner's Maggot Moon (children's), Mary and Bryan Talbot's Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes (biography) and Francesca Segal's The Innocents (first novel).
"We'll just have to wait and see," said Mrs Mantel. "The Costa prize is particularly hard to call because the judges are not comparing like with like – it must be extremely difficult for them to decide between a novel, a children's book, a biography or poetry."
The Wolf Hall author, who has had a packed programme of engagements since winning the Man Booker in the autumn, said she hoped to get started on the final part of her trilogy in March.
"I feel like I took a deep breath in October and I'm still holding it," she said.
"So I am now getting quite eager to be working on The Mirror And The Light."
The overall winner of the Costa award will be announced on January 29.