Today I’m here to celebrate the tenth birthday of the Wellcome Book Prize. Launched in 2009, the prize worth £30,000 celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction. Since then it’s come a long way, championing some amazing, amazing books.
I’m a huge fan of the prize, which rewards exceptional works of literature that illuminate the many ways that health, medicine and illness touch our lives, marks the 10th anniversary of this prestigious award. Over the last decade, the prize has recognised an eclectic variety of titles from novels (Mend the Living, Maylis de Kerangal) to memoirs (The Iceberg, Marion Coutts) to popular science (It’s All in Your Head, Suzanne O’Sullivan). In 2019, the prize will celebrate this legacy and this extraordinary genre of books that add new meaning to life, death and everything in between.
This year, the judges are: Elif Shafak, Rick Edwards, Jon Day, Viv Groskop and Kevin Fong. The longlist will be announced in February – I’m looking to see what books are on there this year – with the 2019 prize being announced in April.
Previous winners include: Mark O’Connell for To Be a Machine in 2018, Maylis de Kerangal (author) and Jessica Moore (translator) for Mend the Living in 2017, Suzanne O’Sullivan for It’s All in Your Head in 2016, Marion Coutts for The Iceberg in 2015, Andrew Solomon for Far from the Tree in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010 and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – a journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.
You can view the other blog posts on the Wellcome Book Prize blog tour, below: