by Claire Armitstead)
Is this the most exciting literary news of the week? Not only is Hilary Mantel going to publish a short story collection in early September, but it is titled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.
Could it be that the queen of the Tudor soap opera – who has recently extended her empire to the stage as well as the page – is embarking on a dangerous new life as a writer of alternate history? Has she taken to political satire in the style style of Martin Amis, circa 1984?
Few clues are forthcoming from her publisher at 4th Estate. According to her editor, Nicholas Pearson, "Where her last two novels explore how modern England was forged, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher shows us the country we have become. These stories are Mantel at her observant best."
Though the double Booker winner has published 13 books, only one of these is a collection of short stories, the autobiographically inspired Learning to Talk – and that was back in 2003.
September suddenly seems all too far away. But don't despair. Take a look at The heart fails without warning – published in the Guardian four years ago – and The Long QT – published in 2012 – and imagine the delights there are in store.