The Wellcome Prize is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and celebrates the best new fiction and non-fiction on the themes of health, illness, and medicine. This year’s longlisted titles cover subjects such as infertility; human behaviour; Alzheimer’s; a bestselling author’s memoir of her brushes with death, and the story of how Joseph Lister changed medicine forever.
We have the following titles from the long list available to borrow from your local library…
Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo
Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.
The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris
In The Butchering Art, historian Lindsey Fitzharris recreates a critical turning point in the history of medicine, when Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today.
Victorian operating theatres were known as ‘gateways of death’, Fitzharris reminds us, since half of those who underwent surgery didn’t survive the experience.
In Pursuit of Memory by Joseph Jebelli
In Pursuit of Memory zooms inside the human brain to see how Alzheimer’s works and out again to show, entwined with the history and science, a thrilling hunt for answers.
Jebelli’s compelling insider’s account shows vividly why he feels so hopeful about a cure but also why our best defence in the meantime is to understand the disease. In Pursuit of Memory is the definitive book on Alzheimer’s: its past, present and future.
With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix
In this unprecedented book, palliative medicine pioneer Dr Kathryn Mannix explores the biggest taboo in our society and the only certainty we all share: death. Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from nearly four decades of clinical practice, her book answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity.
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly to Amsterdam for a midwinter break. A holiday to refresh the senses, to see the sights and to generally take stock of what remains of their lives. But amongst the wintry streets and icy canals, we see their relationship fracturing beneath the surface. And when memories re-emerge of a troubled time in their native Ireland things begin to fall apart.
I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
The unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Insightful, inspirational, intelligent, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count. A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster.
Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky
Behave is at once a dazzling tour and a majestic synthesis of the whole science of human behaviour. Brought to life through simple language, engaging stories and irreverent wit, it offers the fullest picture yet of the origins of tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, war and peace.
The Vaccine Race by Meredith Wadman
Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant. There was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated foetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia produced the first safe, clean cells that made possible the mass-production of vaccines against many common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day effectively wipe out rubella for good.