Wellcome Book Prize

Wellcome Book Prize
Awarded for topics of health and medicine in literature
Sponsored by Wellcome Trust
Location United Kingdom
First awarded 2009
Official website Wellcome Book Prize

Wellcome Book Prize is an annual British literary award sponsored by Wellcome Trust. In keeping with the vision and goals of Wellcome Trust, the Book Prize "celebrates the topics of health and medicine in literature",[1] including fiction and non-fiction.[2] The winner receives £30,000 making it "one of the most remunerative literature awards on offer."[3]

The current prize for medicine in literature was inaugurated in 2009, but there was an older award with the same name. In 1998, Wellcome Trust began offering a prize that would enable a practicing life scientist to take time off and write a science book for the general reader.[4] Applicants would submit a book outline and sample chapter, winners would then be obligated to write and publish the book. It appears the only winner was Michael J. Morgan for The Space Between Our Ears: How the Brain Represents Visual Space (2001), before the prize (for science writing) was discontinued.

From 2009 to2012 it was called the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. In 2013 there was no award however there were changes to the prize including an increase in prize money from £25,000 to £30,000 and a new timetable of key dates: shortlist in February and winner in April.[5]

Winners and shortlisted nominees

Year Winner Work Shortlisted nominees Ref(s)
2009 Gillies, AndreaAndrea Gillies Keeper: Living with Nancy – A Journey into Alzheimer's Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
Brian Dillon, The Hypochondriacs: Nine Tormented Lives
Havi Carel, Illness (Art of Living)
Allegra Goodman, Intuition
Jonny Steinberg, Sizwe's Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic, aka Three-Letter Plague
2010 Skloot, RebeccaRebecca Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Gareth Williams, Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox
Emma Henderson, Grace Williams Says it Loud
John Nichol, Medic: Saving Lives – from Dunkirk to Afghanistan
Lionel Shriver, So Much for That
Tim Parks, Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing
2011 LaPlante, AliceAlice LaPlante Turn of Mind Philip Roth, Nemesis
Louisa Young, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Sarah Manguso, The Two Kinds of Decay
2012 Wright, ThomasThomas Wright Circulation: William Harvey, a Man in Motion Mohammed Hanif, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti
Peter James, Perfect People
Rose Tremain, Merivel: A Man of His Time
John M. Coates, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust
Nick Coleman, The Train in the Night: A Story of Music and Loss
2013 No award [5]
2014 Solomon, AndrewAndrew Solomon Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things
Emily Mayhew, Wounded: From Battlefield to Blighty
Adam Rutherford, Creation: The Origin of Life
Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations
Sarah Wise, Inconvenient People
2015 Coutts, MarionMarion Coutts The Iceberg: A Memoir Henry Marsh, Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery
Sarah Moss, Bodies of Light
Alice Roberts, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us
Scott Stossel, My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind
Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows
2016 O'Sullivan, SuzanneSuzanne O'Sullivan It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness Amy Liptrot, The Outrun
Sarah Moss, Signs for Lost Children
Alex Pheby, Playthings
Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister
Steve Silberman, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity


  1. About the Wellcome Trust Book Prize
  2. "Prize for medicine in literature." The Times (United Kingdom) [serial online]. October 11, 2012. Available from: Newspaper Source Plus, Ipswich, MA. Item: 7EH1489323595. Accessed September 30, 2012.
  3. "New medicine book prize." The Bookseller (17 October 2008), Pg. 6 (1)). Gale Document Number: GALE|A188642463
  4. Frances M. Ashcroft. Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival. See Acknowledgments, pg.xv
  5. 1 2 "2013: No prize awarded". Wellcome Book Prize. 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  6. "Past Prizes 2009". Wellcome Book Prize. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  7. "Past Prizes 2010". Wellcome Book Prize. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  8. Joanna Bourke (10 October 2011). "2011 Wellcome Trust Book Prize shortlist". The Lancet. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  9. "'Turn of Mind' by Alice LaPlante wins the Wellcome Trust Book Prize." (2011, Nov 10). Targeted News Service [Washington, D.C]. ProQuest document ID: 903209814
  10. "Philip Roth's polio novel among six books shortlisted for UK medical literature prize." The Canadian Press [serial online]. November 9, 2011; Available from: Newspaper Source Plus, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 30, 2012.
  11. Charlotte Williams (15 October 2012). "Random House gets four nods for Wellcome Trust Book Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  12. "Thomas Wright wins Wellcome Book Prize". The Daily Telegraph. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  13. "Andrew Motion announces shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2014". Wellcome Trust. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  14. GrrlScientist (26 February 2014). "Wellcome Trust's Book Prize 2014 shortlist announced". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  15. Alison Flood (29 April 2014). "Wellcome book prize goes to Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  16. "The Wellcome Book Prize reveals 2015 shortlist". Wellcome Trust. 9 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  17. "Tumour memoir wins £30,000 Wellcome book prize". BBC News. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  18. "Wellcome Book Prize 2016 shortlist revealed". BBC News. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  19. "'It's All in Your Head' by Suzanne O'Sullivan wins £30,000 Wellcome Book Prize 2016". wellcomebookprize.org. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
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