Wellcome Book Prize 2016: Winners' and Judges' favourite non-fiction
Previous winners of The Wellcome Prize, along with this year's judges, have chosen their favourite non-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 was revealed on Monday (14 March) this year, and the winner will be 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 non-fiction books that fall under the Wellcome Prize's remit.
Damian Barr, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
Somewhere Towards The End by Diana Athill which tells the truth about aging and dying in a clear-eyed non-sentimental but entirely life-enhancing way.
Dry by Augusten Burroughs is a memoir about his alcoholism which manages ot be both painful and painfully funny by virtue of his unflinching candour.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion took me into a twilit world of grief and loss I hope never to experience myself.
Frances Balkwill, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – engrossing, original, important and moving story that combines science, ethics and social history.
Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon - Each chapter is a book in itself – a ‘once in a decade’ book.
The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox – another side of the Double Helix story and also fascinating insight into the life of a female scientist in the 1950s.
Joan Bakewell, chair of judges of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
Awakenings by Oliver Sacks
Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Sathnam Sanghera, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
Surviving Schizophrenia by E Fuller Torrey – a humane and authoritative guide to a debilitating illness that has hit my family
Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness – Ben Watt. A deeply moving account of acute illness.
Awakenings, Oliver Sacks. One of the best books of all time.
Tessa Hadley, judge of the Wellcome Book Prize 2016
The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt This brilliant historian was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and though it paralysed his body and brought his early death, it made him hungry to communicate his insights into history and politics in our time, to say the huge things which were most urgent.
The Good Story by J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz - Novelist and psychoanalyst exchange thoughts on stories and truth and well-being.
Until Further Notice, I Am Alive by Tom Lubbock - Moving companion piece to Marion Coutt’s Wellcome Prize-winning memoir of her husband Tom Lubbock’s illness and death. Tom Lubbock was an art critic, luminously intelligent about paintings and about everything.
Thomas Wright, winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2013 for Circulation
Religio Medici (The Religion of a Doctor) by Sir Thomas Browne - In this eccentric essay the bookish physician meditates on the relationship between 'science' and religion in his virtuoso English Baroque prose style.
The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity by Roy Porter: (1997) - Exhaustive but never exhausting, detailed but never dense, scholarly but never specialist, this is a textbook that can also be read as a compelling story and as living, relevant history.
The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton - Ostensibly a medical treatise this vast tome is in fact an encyclopaedic and kaleidoscopic discussion of everything under the sun, conducted in Burton’s bewitching serious-facetious style.
Andrea Gillies, winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2009 for Keeper
Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag – because of the beautiful writing, the thoughtfulness, and the uncluttered way she shows us that cancer is just a malady, a body gone-wrong thing that can be put right (AIDS As Metaphor extends this argument; it isn’t a judgement or a metaphor at all; it’s just a disease).
Working alone, the writer is in sole charge of the story he or she tells. The therapist, on the other hand, collaborates with the patient in telling the story of their life. What kind of truth do the stories created by patient and therapist aim to uncover?
The bestselling author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Musicophilia.
Describes the nature, causes, symptoms, treatment and course of schizophrenia and also explores living with it from both the patient and the family's point of view. This book includes the advanced research findings on what causes the disease as well as information about the fresh drugs for treatment.
A film tie-in edition of Vera Brittain's classic autobiography, published to coincide with the major motion picture adaptation starring Dominic West, Emily Watson, Colin Morgan and Kit Harington.
In 1992, Ben Watt, a member of the band Everything but the Girl, contracted a rare life-threatening illness that baffled doctors and required months of hospital treatment and operations. This is the story of his fight for survival and the effect it had on him and those nearest him.
One of the major documents of modern European civilization, Robert Burton's astounding compendium, a survey of melancholy in all its myriad forms, has invited nothing but superlatives since its publication in the seventeenth century.
A new edition of Browne's two most enduring and beloved works, Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall.
An astonishingly candid insight into the life and work of a modern neurosurgeon - its triumphs and disasters. A SUNDAY TIMES bestseller, and shortlisted for the GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD and the COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD, as well as longlisted for the SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION.
The untold story of the woman who helped to make one of humanity's greatest discoveries - DNA - but who was never given credit for doing so.
A unique reckoning with the human condition, written in beautiful, honest, unsentimental and aphoristic prose
Diana Athill made her reputation as a writer with the candour of her memoirs and freed from any inhibitions that even she may once have had, she reflects frankly on the losses and occasionally the gains that old age brings, and on the wisdom and fortitude required to face death.
Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors: AND AIDS and Its Metaphors - Penguin Modern Classics (Paperback)
Reveals that the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of the patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment. By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, this study shows cancer for what it is.
Features the essays that chart some of the author's experiences or remembrances: his youthful love of a particular London bus route that evolves into a reflection on public civility and interwar urban planning; and memories of the 1968 student riots of Paris that meander through the divergent sex politics of Europe.
The bestselling second-instalment in the memoirs of the outrageously fuinny, scorchingly honest Augusten Burroughs. Re-packaged in paperback.
Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, covering subjects including deafness, dwarfs, Down's Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, children born of rape, children convicted of crime and transgender people, this book documents ordinary people making courageous choices.
A definitive study of the history of medicine, from the earliest humans to the present day.