Wellcome Book Prize has announced their shortlist for 2017, commending excellent exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction which have penetrated the health and medicine areas. The shortlist comprises of six books, two are fiction and four are non-fiction. A judging panel chose the list was chosen and it was chaired by celebrated Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, alongside Simon Baron-Cohen, Gemma Cairney, Tim Lewens, and Di Speirs.

This shortlist for the £30,000 prize includes the first posthumously published title in Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air, a book which Bill Gates said “left me in tears”, and the first translated text in Maylis de Kerangal and Jessica Moore’s Mend the Living.

Val McDermid stated on behalf of the panel that what the six inspiring, diverse, and inspiring titles have in common is their awareness into what it means to be human. Together they form an assortment that enlightens people on our relationship with health and medicine. It covers our origins, our deaths, activism, and acts of human kindness.

Below is the full shortlist:

  • How to Survive a Plague by David France (USA) Picador, Pan Macmillan
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (USA) The Bodley Head, Penguin Random House
  • Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (France) trans. Jessica Moore MacLehose Press
  • The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss (UK) Granta Books
  • The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (USA) The Bodley Head, Penguin Random House
  • I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong (UK) The Bodley Head, Penguin Random House

The winner will be announced at an evening ceremony on Monday 24 April at Wellcome Collection.