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Wellcome Trust Book Prize longlist unveiled

6th September 2012

The longlist for the 2012 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, which is awarded to the finest works of fiction or non-fiction on the theme of health and medicine, has been announced, with 14 titles in contention for the GBP 25,000 prize.

This year's longlist features nine works of non-fiction and five novels, including Peter James' latest book, Perfect People, about a couple who discover they carry a rare genetic disorder that gives their children extraordinary abilities, and Rose Tremain's Merivel: A Man of His Time, a fictionalised account of the life of Charles II's physician and courtier.

Other novels on the list include Harry Karlinsky's The Evolution of Inanimate Objects, Ken Macleod's Intrusion and Mohammed Hanif's acclaimed Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, which charts the life of a Christian nurse working in a hospital in Pakistan.

They will compete against non-fiction works ranging from Paul Zak's The Moral Molecule, which examines his discovery of a molecule that makes people compassionate, to Professor Peter Piot's No Time to Lose, about the author's attempt to stamp out deadly viruses.

Clare Matterson, director of medical humanities and engagement at the Wellcome Trust, described the shortlist as an 'excellent and extremely diverse' selection of books, each of which demonstrate how medicine can be used creatively in literature.

'These books challenge and entertain the reader in equal measure, but crucially make us reflect on the impact that medicine has on our lives. It will no doubt be a difficult task for our judges to pick one winner out of such a strong list,' she added.

A shortlist of around six books will be unveiled on October 11th, with the winner announced at a reception at Wellcome Collection, London, on November 7th.

The triumphant author will follow in the footsteps of Alice LaPlante, who became the first writer to win the award with a work of fiction in 2011 for her acclaimed novel Turn of Mind.

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