Wellcome Book Prize 2019: Call for submissions now open for 10th anniversary
“It was an incredible honour to be chosen from such a varied and illustrious list of nominated writers, and I am still only beginning to take account of the transformational effects the award has had on my career.”
Mark O’Connell, 2018 Wellcome Book Prize Winner for To Be a Machine
London, Monday 16 July: Today, submissions open for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize, which will mark the 10th anniversary of this annual award celebrating exceptional works of literature that illuminate the breadth and depth of our relationship with health, medicine and illness.
UK publishers are now invited to submit up to three titles per imprint – including fiction and non-fiction – published in the UK between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018. Submissions must be received by 7 September 2018.
The £30,000 prize crosses genres and, since 2009, has recognised an eclectic variety of extraordinary books, from novels (Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal) to memoir (The Iceberg by Marion Coutts) to popular science (It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan).
The 2019 prize will be judged by an independent panel of leading figures from across the worlds of literature, academia, science and the media. The chair and judges will be announced in September 2018.
They will choose a longlist of up to 12 books in late January 2019, followed by a shortlist of six in March 2019, with the winner announced at a high-profile ceremony at Wellcome Collection in April 2019. Authors can expect a sales increase through widespread media coverage, enhanced retail presence, library engagement and a series of events to celebrate 10 years of the prize.
The 2018 prize received extensive media coverage, both nationally and internationally, celebrating the authors from longlist to winner. Announcements received a range of news coverage in the likes of the Guardian and Financial Times, alongside interviews with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC World Service, the Daily Telegraph, the i, Grazia and New Scientist. Shortlisted authors took part in a range of events, including partnerships with 5x15, Hay Festival and Latitude Festival.
Point-of-sale material was sent to over 350 independent bookshops plus Blackwell’s flagship stores. Retail kits featured co-branded Wellcome Book Prize/Books Are My Bag tote bags, designed by Animalium illustrator Katie Scott. Retail window displays featured at key branches of Waterstones, Heffers and Blackwell’s. Kits were also sent out to 365 libraries via the Reading Agency.
Mark O’Connell, author of To Be a Machine and winner of the 2018 prize, said:
“The Wellcome Book Prize is an extraordinary literary award, not just for its highlighting of books that illuminate the human experience through engagement with questions of health and illness, but also its openness to various literary forms across fiction and non-fiction. The award is not just important in and of itself; it also presents a significant cultural argument about the necessity of literary engagements with scientific and medical themes. Receiving the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize has been among the greatest experiences of my life as a writer. It was an incredible honour to be chosen from such a varied and illustrious list of nominated writers, and I am still only beginning to take account of the transformational effects the award has had on my career.”
To Be a Machine was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six books, also including Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix, Mayhem: A memoir by Sigrid Rausing and The Vaccine Race by Meredith Wadman.