The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates fiction and non-fiction works engaged with the topics of health and medicine.
Indian Americans Siddhartha Mukherjee and Paul Kalanithi are among the six authors shortlisted for this year’s Welcome Book Prize. Mukherjee’s book The Gene: An Intimate History and Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air have featured under non-fiction category of Wellcome’s 2017 list.
The other titles in the running are How to Survive a Plague by David France, Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (trans. Jessica Moore), The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss and I Contain Multitudes by Ed Young.
“What these six challenging, diverse and enriching titles have in common is their insight into what it means to be human. Together they form a mosaic that illuminates our relationship with health and medicine. It spans our origins, our deaths and much that lies between, from activism to acts of human kindness,” Val McDermid, The Chair of Wellcome Book Prize 2017 judging panel, said in a statement on Wellcome’s official website.
Related: Indian American Siddhartha Mukherjee on Wellcome Book Prize longlist (February 1, 2017)
The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates fiction and non-fiction works engaged with the topics of health and medicine. This year’s short list, however, includes the first posthumously published title and the first translated title for the prize.
Related: Stanford neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi dies at 37 (March 12, 2015)
If declared winner, Kalanithi could be the first posthumous winner of Wellcome Book Prize for his life-affirming memoir that chronicles his transformation from medical student to neurosurgeon, patient and father before his sad demise while working on this book.
Related: Paul Kalanithi’s memoir leaves Bill Gates in tears (March 8, 2017)
Pulitzer Prize winning author Mukherjee, an assistant professor of medicine at New York’s Columbia University, was nominated previously for The Emperor of All Maladies in 2011.
The Delhi-born writer’s nomination, The Gene, highlights the relevance of genetics within everyday life and interrogates concerns with our growing ability to alter the human genome. Woven within this narrative is an intimate story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness.
“With so many new books now being published in this area, the quality of this selection is necessarily high, and we are immensely proud of this year’s superb shortlist. Each of these books offers the reader something different, but they all capture the acute pleasure and pains of being human,” said Kirty Topiwala, Publisher at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Book Prize Manager.
The 2017 winner will be announced at an evening ceremony on April 24.