'The Iceberg' is an exploration of the impact of death in real time, a sustained act of looking that only ends when life does. In 2008, the art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The tumour was located in the area controlling speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. He died in early 2011. Marion Coutts was his wife.
In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner's death. The book is an account of a family unit, man, woman, young child, under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact.
Chair of Judges Bill Bryson says of the book: "From an extremely strong shortlist of books that blend exquisite writing with scientific rigour and personal experience, 'The Iceberg' stood out. Marion Coutts' account of living with her husband's illness and death is wise, moving and beautifully constructed. Reading it, you have the sense of something truly unique being brought into the world - it stays with you a long time after."