The Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2019 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 author Elif Shafak with Jon Day, Viv Groskop, Kevin Fong and Rick Edwards.
The 2019 longlist:
- Amateur: A true story about what makes a man (Canongate Books) by Thomas Page McBee (USA) Non-fiction
- Astroturf (Riverrun, Quercus) by Matthew Sperling (UK) Fiction
- Educated (Windmill Books/Cornerstone, Penguin Random House) by Tara Westover (USA) Non-fiction
- Freshwater (Faber & Faber) by Akwaeke Emezi (Nigeria/USA) Fiction
- Heart: A History (Oneworld) by Sandeep Jauhar (India/USA) Non-fiction
- Mind on Fire: A memoir of madness and recovery (Penguin Random House/Penguin Ireland) by Arnold Thomas Fanning (Ireland) Non-fiction
- Murmur (CB editions) by Will Eaves (UK) Fiction
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Jonathan Cape) by Ottessa Moshfegh (USA) Fiction
- Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication (Hurst Publishers) by Thomas Abraham (USA) Non-fiction
- Sight (John Murray Press/John Murray Publishers) by Jessie Greengrass (UK) Fiction
- The Trauma Cleaner (Text Publishing) by Sarah Krasnostein (Australia/USA) Non-fiction
- This Really Isn’t About You (Picador) by Jean Hannah Edelstein (UK/USA) Non-fiction
Three debut novels appear on this year’s longlist: Sight, Freshwater and Astroturf. The two further novels look at what great bodily change can do to a person’s mind.
Memoirs dominate the seven non-fiction titles on the list, sharing stories including mortality, modern masculinity and attitudes towards medical innovation.
Elif Shafak commented on behalf of the judging panel:
“Chairing the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize alongside my esteemed fellow judges is a true honour and privilege. In a world that remains sadly divided into echo chambers and mental ghettoes, this prize is unique in its ability to connect various disciplines: medicine, health, literature, art and science. Reading and discussing at length all the books on our list has been fascinating from the very start. We now have a wonderful longlist, of which we are all very proud. Although it sure won’t be easy to choose the shortlist, and then, finally, the winner, I am thrilled about and truly grateful for this fascinating journey through stories, ideas, ground-breaking research and revolutionary knowledge.”
The shortlist for the prize will be announced on Tuesday 19 March, with the winner revealed at an evening ceremony on Wednesday 1 May at Wellcome Collection.
Share your thoughts about the chosen books on Twitter and Instagram using #WBP2019.
Find out more about the books on the Wellcome Book Prize website.
Take a look at the Wellcome Book Prize winner from 2018.
Do you work in a library? You can order free promotional materials for the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist.