Press release

Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2011 judging panel announced

The panel is chaired by science writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry. Judges include Joanna Bourke, Professor of History and prize-winning author of nine books; Roger Highfield, Editor of ‘New Scientist’; Tim Lott, prize-winning author; and Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of ‘The Times’.

The Wellcome Trust Book Prize was launched in 2009 and celebrates the best of medicine in literature by awarding £25,000 each year for the finest work of fiction or non-fiction centred around medicine. The judging panel reflects the aim of the Prize to bring together the traditionally diverse fields of medicine and literature and to stimulate debate about medicine and literature among the broadest possible audience.

Vivienne Parry comments: "Medical science helps to explain life but the arts give life meaning. Hats off to the Wellcome Trust for recognising the role of both science and the arts and for setting up this prize, which celebrates those writers who bring them together. I've only just begun my reading and already these books have made me laugh, made me cry, made me humble and given me a far greater insight into the human condition than I ever had before."

Entries for this year's Prize have now closed, and a shortlist of six books will be announced at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2011. The winner will be announced at a prestigious ceremony in November 2011 at Wellcome Collection in London, the Trust's free destination for the incurably curious, which explores the connections between medicine, life and art.

Previous winners of the Prize include Andrea Gillies in 2009 for 'Keeper' (Short Books), a moving account of a journey into dementia, and Rebecca Skloot in 2010 for 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' (Pan Macmillan).

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Trust, comments: "The Wellcome Trust Book Prize celebrates the books that capture the public interest in illness, health and medical science. Whether non-fiction or a gripping novel, books tackling these subjects have the capacity to enthrall and captivate the reader. Best of luck to the many publishers and authors who have entered."