Wellcome Book Prize 2018: Call for Submissions

Submission forms can be found on http://wellcomebookprize.org


Submissions are now open for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates exceptional books that engage with the topics of health and medicine and the many ways they touch our lives.

The £30,000 prize is open to new titles – fiction and non-fiction – published in the UK between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017. The prize crosses genres; entries can include memoir, biography, crime, historical fiction, current affairs, sci-fi and more. UK publishers are invited to submit up to three books per imprint and submissions must be received by 8 September.

The 2018 Wellcome Book Prize, the ninth year of the prize, will be judged by an independent panel of leading figures from across the worlds of literature, academia, science and the media, to be announced in September 2017. A longlist of up to twelve books will be chosen in late January 2018, followed by a shortlist of six books in March 2018, and the winner will be announced at a ceremony at Wellcome Collection in April 2018.

The winner of the 2017 prize – Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica Moore – enjoyed a sales boost of over 460% the week following the announcement. It was the first novel in translation to win the prize, and the judging panel praised its beautiful exploration of the emotional, physical and practical complexities of organ donation.

The 2018 prize authors can expect a sales increase through enhanced retail presence, widespread media coverage, high-profile events, and library engagement. For the 2017 prize, POS material was sent to 330 independent bookshops and to Blackwell’s flagship stores, including ‘Wellcome Book Prize/Books Are My Bag’ tote bags. Shortlist window displays featured at key Waterstones, Heffers and Blackwell’s stores, and kits were also sent out to over 350 libraries via the Reading Agency.

The prize received international media coverage, from the Guardian and Telegraph to The Pool and New Scientist, as well as broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, BBC Radio 5 live’s Phil Williams and BBC World Service’s News Day. Authors took part in a range of events including partnerships with Book Slam, Curzon Cinemas and 5×15, plus events held at Hay Festival, Wellcome Collection and Latitude Festival.

Kirty Topiwala, Publisher at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Book Prize Manager, said:

We were overwhelmed by the exceptional quality of submissions for the 2017 prize, and thrilled that the stunning novel Mend the Living was chosen as the winner. I am proud that the Wellcome Book Prize continues to be eclectic and unexpected, showcasing the many different ways that health and medicine touch our lives. I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring.”

Maylis de Kerangal, author of Mend the Living, said:

“I was honoured and touched to receive the Wellcome Book Prize. For me, this prize shines a light on the links between fiction and science, and asks profound questions about the power of literature. As a writer of fiction, I received it as a confirmation that a novel can provide emotion and knowledge at the same time, without compromising its form, and give an intimate experience of love, life and death, through a scientific exploration. It was especially moving to receive that prize inside the Wellcome Collection, surrounded by a beautiful collection that transmits so strongly the idea that art and science can be woven into the same journey, the same story.”

Mend the Living was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six books, also including How to Survive a Plague by David France, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee and I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong.

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