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Wellcome Trust Book Prize awarded to Rebecca Skloot

10th November 2010

Rebecca Skloot's 'enthralling' debut The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has been named the winner of the Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2010.

The non-fiction book follows the true story of Henrietta Lacks, a tobacco farmer whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge and used to further a number of medical breakthroughs, including the development of the polio vaccine.

Judging panel chair Clive Anderson commented: 'This is an engaging account of the life of Henrietta Lacks, who died in Baltimore nearly 60 years ago, and the immortal life of her cancer cells, which continue to replicate in research laboratories around the world to this day.'

In winning the GBP 25,000 prize, which recognises fiction and non-fiction works on health and medicine, Skloot triumphed over a shortlist that included Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson, Lionel Shriver's So Much for That and Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox by Gareth Williams.

Tim Parks' Teach Us to Sit Still and Medic: Saving Lives - from Dunkirk to Afghanistan by John Nichol and Tony Rennel were also competing for the award, which is now in its second year.

Last year, the inaugural Wellcome Trust Book Prize was won by Keeper, Andrea Gillies' account of her mother-in-law's life with Alzheimer's disease.

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