We are delighted to announce our 2016 shortlist.
The 2016 shortlist showcases the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through six exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction:
‘The Outrun’ by Amy Liptrot
‘Signs for Lost Children’ by Sarah Moss
‘It’s All in Your Head’ by Suzanne O’Sullivan
‘Playthings’ by Alex Pheby
‘The Last Act of Love’ by Cathy Rentzenbrink
‘Neurotribes’ by Steve Silberman
The two memoirs on the list, ‘The Outrun’ and ‘The Last Act of Love’, are both stories of devastation and recovery, one following addiction and the other a debilitating accident. ‘Neurotribes’ and ‘It’s All in Your Head’, the other two non-fiction contenders, are studies of autism and psychosomatic illness respectively, reflecting society’s interest in the human mind.
The remaining two books on the list are works of fiction. ‘Playthings’ is an immersive imagination of a schizophrenic mind, while ‘Signs for Lost Children’ recounts the pioneering work of an early female medic.
“The shortlist reflects what has moved and inspired us most about books that deal with intimate and often complex matters of the human body and human experience,” said chair of judges Joan Bakewell. “Each one has found its way not just onto the shortlist, but into our hearts.”
The shortlisted authors now must endure an anxious six-week wait until 25 April, when the winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced. Meanwhile, Joan Bakewell and her fellow judges, Frances Balkwill, Damian Barr, Tessa Hadley and Sathnam Sanghera, face a very difficult decision. “I think we have ended up with a really fantastic shortlist,” Sathnam said. “Deciding on a winner is going to be tough.”