The Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2018 has been announced, celebrating the many ways in which literature can illuminate the breadth and depth of our relationship with health, medicine and illness.
The longlist of twelve titles was selected by a judging panel chaired by artist and writer Edmund de Waal OBE with Dr Hannah Critchlow, Bryony Gordon, Sumit Paul-Choudhury and Sophie Ratcliffe.
The 2018 longlist:
- Stay With Me (Canongate Books) by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Nigeria) Fiction
- The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s quest to transform the grisly world of Victorian medicine (Allen Lane, Penguin Press) by Lindsey Fitzharris (USA) Non-fiction
- In Pursuit of Memory: The fight against Alzheimer’s (John Murray) by Joseph Jebelli (UK) Non-fiction
- Plot 29: A memoir (4th Estate, HarperCollins) by Allan Jenkins (UK) Non-fiction
- The White Book (Portobello Books, Granta) by Han Kang (South Korea) translated by Deborah Smith (UK) Fiction
- With the End in Mind: Dying, death and wisdom in an age of denial (William Collins, HarperCollins UK) by Kathryn Mannix (UK) Non-fiction
- Midwinter Break (Jonathan Cape) by Bernard MacLaverty (Ireland) Fiction
- To Be a Machine: Adventures among cyborgs, utopians, hackers, and the futurists solving the modest problem of death (Granta Books) by Mark O’Connell (Ireland) Non-fiction
- I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen brushes with death (Tinder Press, Headline Publishing Group) by Maggie O’Farrell (UK/Ireland) Non-fiction
- Mayhem: A memoir (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Books) by Sigrid Rausing (UK/Sweden) Non-fiction
- Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst (The Bodley Head, Vintage) by Robert Sapolsky (USA) Non-fiction
- The Vaccine Race: How scientists used human cells to combat killer viruses (Doubleday, Transworld) by Meredith Wadman (USA/Canada) Non-fiction
This year’s longlist features three novels about the different stages of love, life, birth and death. The three memoirs in contention offer a powerful insight into the impact of addiction, trauma, and near-death experiences.
Death and mortality are also explored through palliative care workers and an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The list includes the science of our cells to the science of our minds, and looks to both the history and the future of medical science.
Five debut books appear on this year’s longlist: Stay With Me, The Butchering Art In Pursuit of Memory, To Be a Machine and With the End in Mind.
Edmund de Waal commented on behalf of the judging panel:
“The Wellcome Book Prize is unique in its reach across genres, and so the range of books that we have considered has been exhilarating in its extent and ambition. This is a remarkable time for readers, with a great flourishing of writing on ideas around science, medicine and health, lives and deaths, histories and futures. After passionate discussions we have arrived at our longlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2018 and are proud to be part of this process of bringing to a wider public these 12 tremendous books that have moved, intrigued and inspired us. All of them bring something new to our understanding of what it is to be human.”
The shortlist for the prize will be announced on Tuesday 20 March, with the winner revealed at an evening ceremony on Monday 30 April at Wellcome Collection.
Share your thoughts about the chosen books on Twitter and Instagram using #WBP2018.
Find out more about the books on the Wellcome Book Prize website.
Take a look at the Wellcome Book Prize winner from 2017.
Do you work in a library? You can order free promotional materials for the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist.