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Wellcome Book Prize 2016 - judges with shortlist, left - right Tessa Hadley, Sathnam Sanghera, Joan Bakewell (chair), Damian Barr, Frances Balkwill | Courtesy of FMCM Associates
Wellcome Book Prize 2016 - judges with shortlist, left - right Tessa Hadley, Sathnam Sanghera, Joan Bakewell (chair), Damian Barr, Frances Balkwill | Courtesy of FMCM Associates
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The Wellcome Book Prize, A Literary Award

Picture of Stephanie Butler
Updated: 15 March 2016
Annually since 2009, the Wellcome Trust has sponsored a literary award, worth £30,000, celebrating the best new books that revolve around topics of health and medicine. The shortlist comprises six books of fiction and nonfiction, covering many genres of writing. They investigate deeply into human experience of medicine, from personal memoir to scientific study, and offer new meanings of what it is to be human.

The Wellcome Book Prize intends to arouse public interest and debate around certain topics and is open to English-language books from around the world. Previous winners have included The Iceberg by Marion Coutts in 2015, Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon in 2014, and Circulation by Thomas Wright in 2012.

On the March 14, 2016, the shortlist was announced during a breakfast conference in the Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room, and the winner will be announced April 25, 2016. The 2016 renowned and acclaimed panel consists of Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE, Frances Balkwill OBE, Damian Barr, Tessa Hadley and Sathnam Sanghera. The shortlist comprises six outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction: The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss, It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan, Playthings by Alex Pheby, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink and Neurotribes by Steve Silberman.

Wellcome Book Prize 2016 shortlist | Courtesy of FMCM Associates
Wellcome Book Prize 2016 shortlist | Courtesy of FMCM Associates

These books cover a range of medical topics, such as addiction, psychosomatic illnesses, and schizophrenia, and collectively build a picture of the rich understanding of medicine in our culture today. They focus on intimate and elaborate issues concerning the human body and experience, and enable readers to learn from the imaginative way the authors have communicated their perspectives.

With unique insights, the books shortlisted for the prize expose the varying ways of knowing, describing and exploring topics of sickness and health. The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation that is dedicated to improving health and provides more than £700 million a year to support education and research.