Hilary Mantel has won the 2012 Man Booker Prize for the novel Bring Up The Bodies, the second book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.

Mantel last night became the first ever woman to win the Man Booker prize for a second time.

She was overjoyed as she took to the stage to accept her award and quipped: "You wait 20 years for a Booker Prize and two come along at once.

“I know how privileged and lucky I am to be standing here tonight. I regard this as an act of faith and a vote of confidence.

“I have to do something very diffictult now. I have to go away and write the third part of the trilogy.”

Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey, as well as writing a column for the The Daily Telegraph and editing online journal The Junket, served as one of the judges.

Speaking at the event last night he revealed that the judges must read 145 books. He said: “It's been a slog, but an enjoyable one. You have to read them all the way through to make the right critical argument."