Press release

Wellcome Book Prize 2016 announces new judges: Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE to chair eminent panel

Acclaimed author, journalist and broadcaster, Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE, will chair an eminent panel of judges for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016, featuring leading figures from across the worlds of literature, academia, science and the media.

She is joined by Frances Balkwill OBE, Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute and an author of science books for children; writer, columnist and salonnière, Damian Barr; award-winning novelist, Tessa Hadley; and award-winning journalist and author, Sathnam Sanghera.

Worth £30,000, the Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction.

Joan Bakewell, chair of judges for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016, said:

"It’s a privilege to chair such a distinguished panel of judges for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016. The space where medical science and literature meet remains one of the most informative and inspiring areas in publishing today as shown by the strong shortlists the Prize has enjoyed in recent years. I look forward to this year’s submissions and finding a shortlist equally as fine."

Wellcome Collection Publisher and Wellcome Book Prize manager Kirty Topiwala said: 

"We are so thrilled to announce this exceptionally talented panel of judges for the 2016 Prize. This year’s judges embody an especially eclectic mix of personal experience and professional expertise – from literary to political, autobiography to biology. I think this will make for supremely exciting discussions and an insightful selection of books that spotlight the human experience at the heart of medicine."

In April this year, Marion Coutts won the 2015 Prize for her critically lauded memoir, The Iceberg. Previous winners of the Prize also include: Andrew Solomon for Far From the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010, and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – A Journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.

The shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 will be revealed in March next year, with the winner announced at the end of April. The Prize continues to grow in scale and impact, now supporting events and literary initiatives across the UK via partnerships with the Reading Agency, Booksellers Association, Hay Festival, The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, 5x15, and key retailers country-wide.

More information is available on the Wellcome Book Prize website or by following @wellcomebkprize on Twitter.