Hilary Mantel has said she is “embarrassed” by the UK government’s treatment of migrants and asylum seekers and intends to become an Irish citizen to “become European again”.
In an extensive interview with La Repubblica, the two-time Booker Prize-winning novelist offered his views on the monarchy, describing how endometriosis has “ruined my life”, and how Boris Johnson “shouldn’t be in public life”. It also addresses criticism of J.K. Rowling and her stance on transgender rights.
Asked about Priti Patel’s rhetoric on immigration and asylum seekers and whether this was the “ugliest side of the new ‘global Britain’ after Brexit,” the author told the Italian newspaper: “My grandparents are immigrants [from Ireland]; sometimes My life is confused by my imagination, as many of my characters have Irish fathers.
“We see the ugly face of contemporary Britain among the people on the beaches, who abuse weary refugees, even as they scramble on the beach. It puts a person to shame.
“And, of course, it is a shame to live in a country that has chosen this government and allows itself to lead itself.”
Asked about the prospect of Britain’s continued ‘soft power’, he said: ‘Our current government is sending mixed signals – bragging about ‘Global Britain’, as well as by cutting foreign aid to the country. is being underestimated, as if it is a break. Keep your promises.”
The Derbyshire-born novelist was also asked about his obsession with the British monarchy.
She said: “The popularity of ownership as an institution amazes me.
“I don’t want to think that people are slaves by nature, and really enjoy inequality … I can breathe comfortably in a republic, and I might be able to organize it. Hoping to go back to the story and become an Irish citizen.”
She says she hopes to leave England and move on. “Covid has hindered our projected progress, but as much as I love where I live now – in a western countryside, by the sea – I feel the need to pack my bags and be European again.”
Interviewer Antonello Guerrera asked Mantle about Johnson, and whether she agreed that “he has a much more complex personality than the stereotypical ‘Brexer/Buffoon/etc.'”.
Mantle, who was criticized for his story about the assassination of the former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, said: “I met him several times in different places. I agree he is a complicated person, but it’s very simple – He shouldn’t be in public life. And I’m sure he knows that”.
Mantel’s autobiography Giving Up the Ghost, published in 2003, is now published in Italy.
The 69-year-old said her writing allowed her to talk about endometriosis. “For me, the condition and treatment efforts have ruined my life. Many cases go undiagnosed for years, causing extreme distress. I’m glad I took so long to start a conversation about the condition.” played a minor role.”
The author said that as a young woman she did not want children before she was diagnosed at age 27, when her “physical calamity removed the option.” Now, however, she longs for grandchildren.
“No one likes closed and closed doors. Luckily for me, I’ve never experienced the serious inferiority that some childless women feel. But I wish I had grandchildren. At this point I’m in my own right.” I feel it the most in life.”
Mantle was also involved in Rowling’s transgender rights controversy that divided the literary world.
The Harry Potter author wrote a personal essay last year that included instances where she believed the demands of transgender activists were dangerous to women, which LGBT advocacy groups described as divisive and transphobic.
Subsequently, Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and others wrote an open letter warning that the spread of “censorship” leads to “intolerance of dissenting views” and “the spread of public shame and exclusion”.
Mantle said the online attacks on Rowling were “unjust and shameful” after her article.
“It is barbaric for a small minority to lead public discourse and intimidate those who disagree with them,” he said.
She said, “I recently found myself ‘confused’. I found a university publication containing news about alumni, where I was called ‘they’, not ‘he’.”
“My books were ‘his’.” I was not discriminated against – other graduates were treated the same way.
“I thought: ‘Being a woman means a lot to me. I don’t want to forfeit my femininity when printed.'”