The Wellcome Book Prize 2019 Shortlist Has Been Announced & Here's What You Need To Read ASAP
Anyone in need of a few new books to add to their list, listen up right now. Especially if you are interested in the more scientific side of things and the human stories behind science. The shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2019 has just been announced, and guys this year looks like it's going to be a corker. Now in its tenth year, this competition is an opportunity for authors of books in the broader area of medicine to win a seriously big chunk of change — £30,000 to be precise. The award celebrates new works 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". Quite a tall order, then.
Wellcome Trust is probably best known for its museum in London's Euston Road, which has all sorts of unusual and fascinating exhibitions, which change throughout the year.
"The free museum and library for the incurably curious. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art."
The collection itself is a part of Wellcome which helps in supporting medical and scientific research that aims to improve health. The books nominated for the prize are a true and open exploration of health in both fictional and non fictional mediums; here's what's up for the big prize.
1. 'Amateur' by Thomas Page McBee
This is the first hand account of one very unique boxer, who is actively changing the world.
What's so revolutionary about a boxer? I hear you ask. Well, Thomas Page McBee was the first ever transgender man to box in Madison Square Garden.
It is an examination of sex, masculinity, gender, and most of all, one man literally fighting for his place in this world.
2. 'Heart: A History' by Sandeep Jauhar
Dr Sandeep Jauhar is a renowned cardiologist and this book is probably not what you would expect from a doctor. It looks at multiple facets of the heart, from scientific, to philosophical, to new research, and personal stories.
It is a look at the history of the organ we talk about every day. The one that keeps our blood pumping and is connected to our brain. Why does the heart double as a symbol for love? Why is it called heartbroken? This book is a beautiful telling of perhaps our most vital organ.
3. 'Mind On Fire' by Arnold Thomas Fanning
Arnold Thomas Fanning is an accomplished playwright, who has had a difficult road to get to where he is now.
After suffering with bouts of deep depression following the loss of his mother, he began to experience manic episodes and delusions. He became increasingly disconnected with friends and family, got in trouble with the law, became homeless, and suffered mental health struggles
Using his memories of the time with the recollections of friends, medical reports, and police records — he weaves together a memoir both impossibly honest and impossibly beautiful. It is an account that is about as close as you can get to the realities of a mental health problem, and the uphill struggle to regain your peace and sanity.
4. 'Murmur' by Will Eaves
Murmur is a fictional account of a truly disgraceful event in British history — the chemical castration of Alan Turing. And why was he castrated? Because he was gay.
Turing was an incredibly intelligent man, best known as a mathematician who was a part of the team that broke the Enigma Code. The breaking of which led to winning the war. But he was also a psychologist, philosopher, and biologist — and Will Eave's account pays tribute to his great mind.
This book is a fictional account of his year long treatment with a psychologist and his weekly injections which served to take away not only his sexuality, but his humanity too.
5. 'My Year Of Rest & Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh
An account of the protagonist's decision to isolate and medicate herself in her Manhattan apartment for a year in order to keep a grasp of her sanity.
After experiencing extreme trauma in the loss of both of her parents, the art history graduate decides to take to her apartment and sedate herself. This novel is feminist, funny, and dark AF.
6. 'The Trauma Cleaner' by Sarah Krasnostein
Sarah Krasnostein's account of Sandra Pankhurst, a feminist icon who well deserves that surname, is more than just the story of a specialist trauma cleaner. Although TBH if you are anything like me, a person who cleans up crime scenes and houses in extreme states of squalor is interesting.
The author juxtaposes the story of Pankhurst's work alongside the life experiences that have moulded her into one tough cookie.
Pankhurst's experience as a 63-year-old trans woman who chose to transition at a time when it was far less acceptable, is moving and inspiring. The battles she fought to not only keep her head above water but also just to be herself, are incredible.
The winner of the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize will be revealed at an evening ceremony on Wednesday May 1 at Wellcome Collection. So you have plenty of time to read the lot and decide which one you think should win the gong.