This year's Wellcome Book Prize shortlist is an amalgam of non-fiction and fiction books that as head of judges Bill Bryson said today, are “all accessible, engaging and beautifully written". 

Deciding on the six books that would make the shortlist was “like being in the world's best book club", said the best-selling non-fiction author. The prize, which was relaunched last year with the strap line “books for the incurably curious", is for publications that engage with some aspect of medicine, health or illness. 

As Ken Arnold, Head of Public Programmes at the Wellcome Collection, said science is no longer seen as removed from the wider world, and this prize highlights that all-encompassing range. This year's shortlist includes two novels and four works of non-fiction:

  • The Iceberg by Marion Coutts, a memoir of the artist's husband's death from a brain tumour
  • Do No Harm by Henry Marsh, relates the 65-year old surgeon's experiences in modern neurosurgery
  • Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss, a novel of a family living in the 19th century
  • The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being by Alice Roberts, a tour of the human body by presenter of the BBC series The Incredible Human Journey
  • My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel, an account of the author's life-long struggle with anxiety
  • All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, a novel centred on sisters and suicide

The judges for this year's prize are Bryson, Professor Uta Frith, known for her work on autism and dyslexia; Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Razia Iqbal, BBC presenter, Baroness Helena Kennedy, barrister and member of the House of Lords. 

The prize, which is worth £30,000 will be announced on April 29. Starting next Wednesday here on welldoing, we will be exploring each title in turn. Wellcome Collection, which is part of the Wellcome Trust, explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. 

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