Best-selling author Hilary Mantel has criticised ‘abuse and bullying’ in public discourse, following reaction to a lecture she delivered on royalty through the centuries last year.
The novelist declared that the Daily Mail selected passages in which she talked about the Duchess of Cambridge, and accused the author of "an astonishing and venomous attack" on the duchess. It was no such thing, according to Mantel.
She told the New Statesman that the episode had opened her eyes. The author won the Man Booker prize twice for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. "I do think the level of public debate is debased. To know how far it is debased – well, you have to be on the receiving end of a hate campaign like that to know how bad it is.“
She observed that people mistook trivial abuse for some kind of freedom. “To a large extent proper civic engagement, community engagement, proper political debate and activism has been replaced by this. By illogic. By platitudes. And actually a lot of it is just abuse and bullying. “
She talked of “a nasty, narrow little conformism. And people are afraid, quite understandably, to differ from the norm. I think it's a very sad state of affairs."