Judging panel announced for 2010 Wellcome Trust Book Prize

The judging panel for the 2010 Wellcome Trust Book Prize has been announced. Chaired by Clive Anderson, former barrister, comedy writer and presenter, the panel includes writer and former Man Booker judge Maggie Gee; writer, professor and former Man Booker judge AC Grayling; University College based medical historian Michael Neve; and anatomist, anthropologist, presenter and author Alice Roberts.

The judging panel reflects the Prize's unique aim to bring together the traditionally diverse fields of medicine and literature. The Wellcome Trust Book Prize is open to outstanding works of fiction and non-fiction on the theme of health, illness and medicine. Worth £25,000 to the winning author, the Prize is in its second year.

The Prize recognises literature of the highest quality that engages with the human experience of health and illness. It aims to stimulate interest and debate about medicine and literature and to encourage new ways of thinking about medical science by reaching the broadest possible audience.

Clive Anderson comments: "As Alexander Pope’s doctor may have said, the proper study of man is mankind’s illnesses. Many good books touch on medical matters; bad ones offer a cure for insomnia. Any number of works of science and literature can induce hypertension, hypochondria, hysteria or an understanding of how the mind and body work. I am sure the judges will feel better when we have explored the entries for this prize."

Entries for this year have now closed with a total of 73 submissions. A shortlist of six books will be announced at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2010. The winner will be announced at a prestigious ceremony in November 2010 at Wellcome Collection in London - the Wellcome Trust's renowned venue for the incurably curious, exploring the connections between medicine, life and art.

The 2009 winner of the first ever Wellcome Trust Book Prize was Keeper (Short Books) by Andrea Gillies.

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, comments: "We are very excited about taking the Prize into its second year. Once again, we've had a tremendous response and are very pleased with the depth and diversity of the submissions. Clearly health, illness and medicine are rich themes for some of today's best authors. Life will be difficult for Clive and his fellow judges as they labour over the shortlist in the coming months."

Judges

Clive Anderson (Chair)
Clive Anderson is a former barrister, best known for being a comedy writer as well as a radio and television presenter. Winner of a British Comedy Award, Clive began his success with stand-up comedy and comedic script writing, before starring in 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'.

No stranger to literary events, Clive presented 'The Big Read' for BBC Two - part of a huge campaign to get the country reading and find the nation's best-loved book. He has hosted the NCR Book Awards as well as chairing the TV show 'Before the Booker', and in 2006 he was a judge for the Costa Book Awards.

Maggie Gee
Maggie Gee has written over ten novels and a collection of short stories, with her novel 'The White Family' being shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction.

A former Booker Prize judge, she was the first female Chair of Council of the Royal Society of Literature (2004-2008), and is currently a Fellow and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature. She is also Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

AC Grayling
Anthony Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.

He is a Trustee of the London Library, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has written and edited over 20 books on philosophy and other subjects and is a frequent contributor to various publications, including the Literary Review and the Times Literary Supplement. Like Maggie, he is a former Booker Prize judge.

Michael Neve
Michael Neve has been based at University College and the Wellcome Trust Centre (and its predecessors) since 1977.

He has published on early 19th-century provincial science in England, the history of psychiatry, ideas of degeneration in the late 19th-century biomedical and social sciences, and medicine and literature. He has been on the editorial board of The London Review of Books for over two decades and has reviewed both for it and the Times Literary Supplement.

Alice Roberts
Alice Roberts is an anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, anthropologist, television presenter and author. Best known for her TV appearances in the BBC series 'Coast', 'Dr Alice Roberts: Don't Die Young' and 'The Incredible Human Journey', she has also appeared as an expert osteoarchaeologist on the Channel 4 television series 'Time Team' and its spin-off show 'Extreme Archaeology'.