The shortlist for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2011 has been announced – the third ever shortlist for works of fiction and non-fiction on the theme of health, illness or medicine.

This year’s shortlist reflects the diverse fields of medicine and literature, with subject matters ranging from an extraordinary history of cancer to a gripping novel chronicling a polio epidemic threatening children in 1940s New Jersey.

The shortlisted books are:

  • ‘Turn of Mind’ by Alice LaPlante,
    Random House – Harvill Secker
  • ‘The Two Kinds of Decay’ by Sarah Manguso, Granta Books
  • ‘The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography
    of Cancer’ by Siddhartha Mukherjee,
    HarperCollins – 4th Estate
  • ‘State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett,
    Bloomsbury
  • ‘Nemesis’ by Philip Roth, Random House Vintage
  • ‘My Dear I Wanted To Tell You’ by Louisa Young, HarperCollins.

Chairing the judging panel of five, science writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry also notes the strength of the fiction entries this year:

“The shortlist is really varied, one non fiction, one autobiography and four novels. It shows that if authors want to engage the public in medicine, genre is no barrier to success. The quality of novels in particular was stunning, a slam-dunk demonstration of the power of fiction to suck the reader right in to the heart of medical issues. All I can say at this stage is ‘boy, is that final meeting going to be lively!'”

Parry’s fellow judges for the 2011 Prize include: Professor of History and prize-winning author of nine books Joanna Bourke; Editor of ‘New Scientist’ Roger Highfield; prize-winning author Tim Lott; and Literary Editor of the ‘Times’ Erica Wagner.

The winner of the £25 000 Prize will be announced at an awards reception at Wellcome Collection, London, on Wednesday 9 November 2011.

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