The shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 was announced yesterday by this year’s chair of judges, the acclaimed author, journalist and broadcaster Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE.
Joined by James Peto, Head of Public Programmes at Wellcome Collection, Bakewell revealed the six shortlisted titles at a breakfast event held in Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room.
Celebrating the best new books that engage with any aspect of medicine, health or illness, the 2016 shortlist showcases the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through six exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction:
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate) - Non Fiction
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss (Granta) - Fiction
It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan (Chatto & Windus) - Non Fiction
Playthings by Alex Pheby (Galley Beggar Press) - Fiction
The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink (Picador) - Non Fiction
Neurotribes by Steve Silberman (Allen & Unwin) - Non Fiction
From memoirs on addiction (The Outrun) and on the aftermath of a debilitating accident (The Last Act of Love) to studies on autism (Neurotribes) and psychosomatic illnesses (It’s All in Your Head), the non-fiction contenders reflect a broader preoccupation with the human mind, while the two works of fiction on the list offer an immersive account of schizophrenia (Playthings) and an account of the pioneering work of an early female medic (Signs for Lost Children). As a group, the titles represent a collective conversation on medicine in literature today, demonstrating the wealth of human experience this cultural sector explores.
Worth £30,000, the 2016 prize is judged by a panel comprising chair Joan Bakewell; Frances Balkwill OBE, Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute and an author of science books for children; writer, columnist and salonnière Damian Barr; award-winning novelist Tessa Hadley; and award-winning journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera.
The winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 will be announced on 25 April.