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A Wellcome Brunch

A Wellcome Brunch

Listen to four of the shortlisted authors for this year's Wellcome Book Prize.

Posted on 7th April 2016 by Rob Chilver
Saturday saw the Wellcome Collection in London open its doors to book bloggers and readers eager to meet four of the six shortlisted authors for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize. After sampling an excellent brunch of bacon rolls and coffee, I settled down to hear from shortlisted authors Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun, Suzanne O’Sullivan, author of It’s All in Your Head, Alex Pheby, author of Playthings and Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love, and able host blogger Simon Savidge.

The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness and is one that aims to find books that will intrigue and delight those that are ‘incurably curious’. This year’s shortlist is an interesting mix of titles, with books ranging from illness to alcohol addiction, ones certain to engage your curiosity.

Listen to the four shortlisted authors below then go explore the eclectic and entertaining list that makes up this year’s shortlist. 


The winner will be announced on April 25th, joining an exceptional alumni including Marion Coutts and her critically lauded memoir, The Iceberg (2015) Andrew Solomon for Far From the Tree (2014), Thomas Wright for Circulation (2012), Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind (2011) Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010), and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – A Journey into Alzheimer’s (2009).

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By happy coincidence, I am currently exploring the books longlisted for this year’s Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction and have begun reading The Portable Veblen. After visiting the Wellcome Collection in the morning it seemed apt to be delving into a book that features individual’s neuroses, intricate brain surgery and, leaving the best till last, communication with squirrels. I’m only halfway through but if it continues the way it is, it might well be one of my reads of the year so far.

Related books

The Outrun (Hardback)

The Outrun (Hardback)

Amy Liptrot




5 Reviews

'A lyrical, brave memoir describing the wind and wildness of the Northern Islands and the badlands of addiction' - Guardian

£14.99 £11.99
It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness (Hardback)

It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness (Hardback)

Dr. Suzanne O'Sullivan




1 Review

Takes us on a journey through the very real world of psychosomatic illness. This book encourages us to look deep inside the human condition. It helps us to find the secrets we are all capable of keeping from ourselves, and our age-old failure to credit the intimate and extraordinary connection between mind and body.

£16.99
Playthings (Paperback)

Playthings (Paperback)

Alex Pheby




1 Review

£11.00
The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister (Hardback)

The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister (Hardback)

Cathy Rentzenbrink




20 Reviews

A powerful, timely and incredibly moving memoir in the bestselling tradition of Blake Morrison, Joan Didion and Ruth Picardie.

£14.99
Signs for Lost Children (Paperback)

Signs for Lost Children (Paperback)

Sarah Moss

“Moss, a writer of complexity and restraint, shows real skill in the way she brings these ‘lost children’ back together.” - The Financial Times

£12.99
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently (Paperback)

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently (Paperback)

Steve Silberman, Oliver Sacks




2 Reviews

Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, this Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding and full participation in society for people who think differently.

£9.99 £7.99
The Portable Veblen (Hardback)

The Portable Veblen (Hardback)

Elizabeth McKenzie




3 Reviews

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016 A riotously funny and deeply insightful adventure through capitalism, the medical industry, family, love, war and wedding-planning - from an electrically entertaining new voice

£12.99