We are delighted to announce our 2017 longlist.
Comprising seven non-fiction and five fiction titles, the longlist includes memoir, contemporary fiction, historical fiction and popular science. Authors from the UK and USA appear, alongside the first Australian, French and Israeli contenders for the £30,000 prize:
‘How to Survive a Plague’ by David France
‘Homo Deus’ by Yuval Noah Harari
‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi
‘Mend the Living’ by Maylis de Kerangal trans. Jessica Moore
‘The Golden Age’ by Joan London
‘Cure’ by Jo Marchant
‘The Tidal Zone’ by Sarah Moss
‘The Gene’ by Siddhartha Mukherjee
‘The Essex Serpent’ by Sarah Perry
‘A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived’ by Adam Rutherford
‘Miss Jane’ by Brad Watson
‘I Contain Multitudes’ by Ed Yong
From the impact of unexplained childhood illness on families (‘The Tidal Zone’) and the reality of living with a congenital anomaly in early 20th-century Mississippi (‘Miss Jane’), through the story of a heart transplant taking place over 24 hours (‘Mend the Living’), to the 40 trillion microbes contained in the human body (‘I Contain Multitudes’), the longlist highlights the incredible breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine.
Historic moments of medical progress are brought to life, with titles examining the Victorian conflict between science and religion (‘The Essex Serpent’), the 1950s polio epidemic in Australia (‘The Golden Age’) and the role of activism in overcoming the 1980s AIDS crisis (‘How to Survive a Plague’).
The longlist also includes an examination of research into the mind’s ability to influence our health (‘Cure’) and looks to the not-too-distant future, envisioning the next stage of evolution (‘Homo Deus’).
“The challenge of judging the Wellcome Book Prize is that we have all had to read outside our own areas of expertise,” said chair of judges Val McDermid. “That makes demands both of the judges and of the books. This longlist is evidence of the breadth, humanity and creativity at work in the submissions for the prize, and we commend each of these 12 books for your reading pleasure.”
The longlisted authors now face a six-week wait until 14 March, when the shortlist will be announced at the London Book Fair. The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced on 24 April at Wellcome Collection.