One of my favourite prizes of the year, the Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2018 has just been announced. The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates ” the many ways in which literature can illuminate the breadth and depth of our relationship with health, medicine and illness.”
The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday, March 20th, and the winner will be revealed on Monday, April 30th.
I’m delighted to be part of Rebecca’s Shadow Panel, which will get going once the shortlist is announced. I’m in good company too with Clare, Paul, and Laura. I’ll also be taking part in the Prize’s Blog tour, as I did last year when I championed Maylis de Kerangal’s Mend The Living from the shortlist.
The wonderful thing about this prize is that its criteria are so simple – whether memoir, popular science, more academically minded, or novels – all books about Health, Illness and Medicine can be entered and this always leads to an eclectic mix in the longlist.
I’m drawn to several of the medical titles
The Vaccine Race and The Butchering Art for starters, with the 800 pages psychology volume Behave following close behind. I must be the only bookish person I know yet to read Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir which I shall remedy forthwith. (I started but couldn’t get into Bernard MacLaverty’s novel though, beautifully written as it may be).
Several other books with a health, illness and medicine or science history theme have come my way lately too:
- Pavlov’s Dog by Adam Hart-Davis – subtitled and 49 other experiments that revolutionised psychology
- Under the Knife by Arnold van de Laar – A History of Surgery in 28 Remarkable Operations
- A Lab of One’s Own: Science and Suffrage in the First World War by Patricia Fara
All That Remains: A Life in Death by Professor Sue Black
So it’s going to be science and medicine all the way this spring – although I will make space for reading other books to prevent being ‘scienced out’!