Marsh wins PEN Ackerley Prize

Marsh wins PEN Ackerley Prize

Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh has won the £3,000 PEN Ackerley Prize 2015 for his memoir Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).

The prize, the UK's only literary prize devoted to memoir and autobiography, had also shortlisted Other People's Countries by Patrick McGuinness (Jonathan Cape), An Encyclopaedia of Myself by Jonathan Meades (Fourth Estate) and The Setting Sun by Bart Moore-Gilbert (Verso).

Chair of judges Peter Parker said: "Several widely praise and heavily garlanded autobiographies were published in 2014, but the PEN Ackerley judges felt that few of these delivered on their promise. Henry Marsh's Do No Harm was, outstandingly, one that did…beautifully written, recklessly honest and morally complex."

Parker said Marsh had written "superbly about the intricacies of the human body, about the sometimes conflicting impulses of professional ambition and human need, and about the difficulty of talking honestly to patients and their families in times of medical crisis."   

The book's triumph follows shortlistings for the Wellcome Book Prize, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Costa Biography Award.