Will Eaves wins Wellcome Book Prize 2019

Large d5gdbmgwsaic2nq

On Wednesday 1 May, British author Will Eaves has been awarded the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize for his astonishing novel Murmur, inspired by the life and legacy of Alan Turing.

Bestselling author and Chair of Judges, Elif Shafak, made the announcement at the award ceremony at Wellcome Collection, London, praising Eaves’ “exquisite craft” in writing a novel of such power it “restores our faith in human beings, and their endless capacity for resilience.”

Eaves was selected from a shortlist of six to win the prestigious £30,000 prize, which celebrates exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction that illuminate the many ways that health and medicine touch our lives.

Taking its cue from the arrest and legally-enforced chemical castration of Turing, Eaves fictionalises the devastating period before the mathematician’s death in an extraordinary contemplation of consciousness. Through Alec Pryor – the book’s avatar for Turing – Eaves seamlessly fuses art and science to create a feverish meditation on love, state-sanctioned homophobia and knowledge, alongside an exploration of sexuality, identity and artificial intelligence.

Originally a short story, Murmur is Eaves’ fifth novel and is published by CB Editions, an independent small press run solely by Charles Boyle that releases only a handful of books each year. After being shortlisted for the 2017 BBC National Short Story Award, the novel was nominated for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize, 2019 James Tait Black Prize and 2019 Rathbones Folio Prize, and awarded the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019.

See the readers’ guide for Murmur.

The other titles shortlisted for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize were:

Elif Shafak, Chair of Judges, commented on behalf of the judging panel:

“Murmur is a hugely impressive book that will grip you in the very first pages, break your heart halfway through, and in the end, strangely, unexpectedly, restore your faith in human beings, and their endless capacity for resilience. By the time you finish the book you might fall in love with not only the story and the storytelling, but with the exquisite craft behind it. Every sentence, each character… is well-thought, beautifully written and yet there is a quiet modesty all the way through that is impossible not to admire. Whether he intended this or not, Will Eaves has given us a future classic and for this, we are grateful to him.”

Francesca Barrie, Commissioning Editor at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Book Prize Manager, said:

“Out of the record number of submissions received for the 10th anniversary year, we are thrilled that the judging panel has chosen Will Eaves’ exceptional novel as a very worthy winner. Murmur is a novel of both literary excellence and social importance, offering powerful insights into consciousness, identity, and what it is to be human in a machine age.”

Libraries

Libraries around the country have been getting involved with the Prize by creating displays around the theme, books for the incurably curious. All the displays were entered into a competition, and the winning library was Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust library. Staff from the library were delighted to join The Reading Agency at the award ceremony on Wednesday 1 May.

Medium wellcome

See all the library displays.

Get involved

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.

Comments

Log in or Sign up to add a comment

News

Suggestions for National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day generates an explosion of activity nationwide, thousands of amazing events across the UK – in schools, libraries, bookshops and hospitals, on buses, trains and boats – all celebrating poetry’s power to bring people together. 2019 is the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day – expect the celebrations to run all year long.

Medium npd 2019 recommended reading list   book groups
Resources

How to start a reading group

Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started.

Thumb reading between the wines with books  2
News

Hive and The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency loves books, in every form, and we know you do too. We love it when people borrow books in every format from their brilliant local libraries. We love it when reading groups get exclusive free proofs from our publisher partners. We love it when readers pick up a pre-loved book from a second-hand bookshop for a song. And we also love it when you buy yourself or someone else a brand new book from a high street bookshop. We also know that buying online is quick and convenient...

Medium hive