Wellcome Book Prize Shadow Panel: The Winner!

And the winner of the Wellcome Book Prize shadow panel is…


See Rebecca’s full post on the decision here.

The winner of the Wellcome Book Prize will be announced  on Monday 30th April.

My predictions, with links to my shortlist reviews: I’m concerned that With the End In Mind, my least favourite on the shortlist, and a book that worried me in a number of ways, has a strong chance of taking it. But I still think To Be A Machine must be a contender, as must Lindsey Fitzharris’s wonderful medical biography of Joseph Lister, The Butchering Art.

I’d be surprised to see either Meredith Wadman’s The Vaccine RaceSigrid Rausing’s Mayhem or Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s Stay With Me take the prize, though this is not necessarily a judgment on the quality of any of those books. The Vaccine Race is perhaps too densely scientific for the average reader, though I enjoyed dredging up my A Level Biology to get through it, Stay With Me, a novel I liked very much, does not seem to me to put medical themes at its centre, and Mayhem’s fragmentary telling and huge gaps are likely to divide readers.

What are your thoughts on the most likely winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2018?

Update 1/5/18: I was thrilled to hear that To Be A Machine has been pronounced the winner of the Wellcome Book Prize, and intrigued that both the shadow panel and the actual judges chose the same book. Having now read virtually the whole longlist, bar Behave and The White Book, I think that I’d still have selected O’Connell as the winner, though he’d have had stiff competition from Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am, I Am, which would definitely have made it onto my imaginary shortlist. Looking forward to seeing what happens with the Wellcome Book Prize next year!

You can read Rebecca’s report of the awards ceremony here.

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