Indian American Siddhartha Mukherjee on Wellcome Book Prize longlist

The Delhi-born physician-author’s work, The Gene: An Intimate History, is longlisted in the nonfiction category.

Siddhartha Mukherjee (Courtesy of twitter)

(This post has been updated.)

Indian American physician and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee is among those that have been longlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize. His book, The Gene: An Intimate History, has featured in Wellcome’s 2017 list under the non-fiction category.

The Delhi-born Mukherjee, an assistant professor of medicine at New York’s Columbia University, shared the news on Twitter: “#THEGENE is listed for the @wellcometrust @wellcomebkprize BOOK PRIZE.”

The list features seven non-fiction and five fiction titles, including memoir, contemporary fiction, historical fiction and popular science.

Works of fiction longlisted for the prize include Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal, The Golden Age by Joan London, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss and Miss Jane by Brad Watson.

The list of non-fiction books include How to Survive a Plague by David France, Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Cure by Jo Marchant, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford and I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong.

The Chair of Wellcome Book Prize 2017 judging panel, Val McDermid, in a statement on Wellcome’s website, said:

“The challenge of judging the Wellcome Book Prize is that we have all had to read outside our own areas of expertise. That makes demands both of the judges and of the books. This longlist is evidence of the breadth, humanity and creativity at work in the submissions for the prize, and we commend each of these 12 books for your reading pleasure.”

Mukherjee’s book, which blends science, social history and personal narrative, is an attempt to tackle the knotty dilemma of whether human beings should remain bound to heredity or alter the course of future generations.

Wellcome Book Prize is an annual award with £30,000 — nearly $38,000 — prize money that recognizes new works of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, that have a central theme engaging with some aspect of medicine, health or illness. The 2016 prize was won by Suzanne O’ Sullivan’s non-fiction work: It’s All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness, which deals with medicine, neurology and mental health.

The shortlist for the 2017 prize will be announced on 14 March and the winner on 24 April.

Mukherjee’s 2010 book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2011, and it figures among named one of the 100 most influential books written in English since 1923
It was also turned into a documentary titled Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, by Ken Burns in 2015.

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