Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Wellcome Trust Book Prize

The Wellcome Trust has just launched a book prize at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.

The £25,000 Wellcome Trust Book Prize (making it one of the richest literary awards) will go to the author of an outstanding literary work engaging with perspectives on medicine, health and illness.

Medicine has always been an important literary vehicle, from Bram Stoker's Dracula to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, and this new prize will reward these literary interrogations of attitudes to sickness, health and the medical profession.

The panel, chaired by comedian and former psychiatric nurse, Jo Brand (pictured at right), will consider books published between now and September 2009. Speaking to the Guardian, Jo Brand said, "We are looking for books like One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest [one of Brand's personal favourites], that have illness at the centre of the story."

Jo Brand is joined on the panel by Quentin Cooper (BBC science journalist), Brian Hurwitz (D'Oyly Carte Professor of Medicine and the Arts, Kings College London), Gwyneth Lewis (Welsh author and poet) and Raymond Tallis (former Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester and Consultant Physician, now full-time writer and Visiting Professor to St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London).

The shortlists of 6 works will be announced at next year's Times Cheltenham Literary Festival in October.

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