Wellcome Book Prize 2016: Winners' and Judges' favourite fiction
Previous winners of The Wellcome Prize, along with this year's judges, have chosen their favourite fiction that deals with medicine, health or illness. The shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 will be announced in a week's time.
The Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction.
The shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 will be revealed on Monday 14 March this year, with the winner announced at a special ceremony on Monday 25 April.
In the meantime, this year's judges and some previous winners share their selection of the most exceptional fiction books that fall under the Wellcome Prize's remit.
Damian Barr, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
The Farewell Symphony Edmund White. This semi-autobiographical novel follows "A Boy's Own Story" and "The Beautiful Room is Empty" and charts first-hand the devastating advent of AIDS.
Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame describes a poor family in New Zealand unmade then remade by a daughter’s struggle with mental illness. Guaranteed to make you bawl.
The Plague by Albert Camus has been reprised to many times and never more than our apocalypse obsessed now but it remains the most compelling and disturbing.
Joan Bakewell, chair of judges of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.
The Doctor’s Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw.
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Sathnam Sanghera, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. Nariman Vakeel is a seventy-nine-year-old Parsi widower beset by Parkinson's disease and haunted by memories of the past… A brilliant novel from our finest living writer.
Joshua Ferris’s Man Booker-shortlisted To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is one of my favourite books of recent times. It gets rather bogged down at times in theology. But in dentist and atheist Paul O’Rourke, who finds himself being impersonated online, Ferris has created one of the funniest narrators in recent literary history.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. A must for anyone interested in mental illness.
Tessa Hadley, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus A superb novel about music and fascism: Mann was always fascinated by the relationships between illness and art.
Keats’ fragment of verse, written when his tuberculosis was far advanced, ‘This living hand, now warm and capable/ Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold…’
Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter I’m cheating slightly – but it does begin with an eye operation, and then bereavement. Marvellously funny and sad.
Thomas Wright, winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2013 for Circulation
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – This seminal science-fiction novel – in which Victor Frankenstein studies medicine at university as a part of his natural philosophy course – is animated by ideas concerning 'science' so suggestive they remain contemporary today.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R.L. Stevenson - This gripping and vivid evocation of the split personality of Dr Jekyll M.D. offers insights into the relationship between rationality and passion inside the scientific mind.
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle - In this first Sherlock Holmes story we’re introduced to Dr Watson M.D., whose medical skill and whose experiences as a physician will be of great assistance to the consulting detective over the course of his career.
Andrea Gillies, winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2009 for Keeper
The Citadel by A J Cronin – which is a completely engrossing novel about a provincial doctor’s struggle to do his best in pre 1948, pre National Health Service Britain – a well disguised polemic dressed up brilliantly as a popular narrative.
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann – for the way he uses TB as a metaphor for the intellectual crisis in Western Europe in the years surrounding the Great War.
· George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl – because it’s hilariously naughty, and because it’s amazing that a children’s book offering methods of poisoning your granny remains unbanned.
For more information, please visit www.wellcomebookprize.org or keep up to date with the Prize on Twitter @wellcomebkprize.
Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electroshock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy - who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates.
Nariman Vakeel, a 79-year-old Parsi widower, beset by Parkinson's disease and haunted by memories of the past, lives in a once-elegant apartment with his two middle-aged stepchildren. When his condition worsens he is forced to take up residence with Roxana, his own daughter, her husband, Yezad, and their two young sons.
Paul O'Rourke - dentist extraordinaire, reluctant New Yorker, avowed atheist, and a connoisseur of the afternoon mochaccino - is a man out of touch with modern life. While his dental practice occupies his days, his nights are filled with darker thoughts, as he alternately marvels at and rails against the optimism of the rest of humanity.
When Dr John Watson takes rooms in Baker Street with amateur detective Sherlock Holmes, he has no idea that he is about to enter a shadowy world of criminality and violence. Accompanying Holmes to an ill-omened house in south London, Watson is startled to find a dead man whose face is contorted in a rictus of horror.
Hans Castorp is 'a perfectly ordinary, if engaging young man' when he goes to visit his cousin in an exclusive sanatorium in the Swiss Alps. What should have been a three week trip turns into a seven year stay.
The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. This title tells the story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence.
Obsessed with the idea of creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material with which to fashion a new being, shocking his creation to life with electricity. But this botched creature, rejected by its creator and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy Frankenstein and all that he holds dear.
Narrated by a 15-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.
A story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with the 'damnable young man' Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil.
A reflective, poignant novel of independence and love from one of America's greatest contemporary Southern writers.
Part of Alma Classics Evergreen series at GBP4.99, this edition of the gambler in a brand new translation includes pictures and an extensive section on Dostoevsky's life and works
From the author of The Stars Look Down and The Citadel, and the creator of Dr Finlay's Casebook
Owls Do Cry is the first novel of one of New Zealand's most acclaimed classic writers, Janet Frame. Hailed as a masterpiece on first publication in 1957, it is comparable to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.
George Kranky's Grandma is a miserable grouch. George really hates that horrid old witchy woman. One Saturday morning, George is in charge of giving Grandma her medicine. So-ho! Ah-ha! Ho-hum! George knows exactly what to do. A magic medicine, it will be. One that will either cure her completely... or blow off the top of her head.