Scottish crime writer Val McDermid is to chair the Wellcome Book Prize's 2017 judging panel, which features leading figures from across the worlds of literature, academia, science and the media.
McDermid is joined on the panel by Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge; Gemma Cairney, BBC broadcaster and author; Tim Lewens, professor of philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge; and Di Speirs, books editor for BBC Radio.
The judging panel will be looking for the best book of the year – fiction or non-fiction – that engages with the topics of health and medicine. The prize aims to reach broad audiences, stimulating interest in and debate around medicine, health and illness through books and reading.
For the first time, the prize will release a longlist of 12 books, set to be announced in January 2017. This will be followed by a shortlist of six books in March 2017, with the winner being announced at a ceremony at Wellcome Collection in April 2017.
McDermid said: “I am thrilled and honoured to chair the Wellcome Book Prize 2017, which over the past eight years has celebrated a wealth of extraordinary books that connect literature, health and medicine in a variety of wonderful ways. What also distinguishes this prize is its acknowledgement of the importance of a really good read, whether that comes in the form of fiction or non-fiction, and together with my distinguished fellow judges, I am looking forward to reading and discussing the submissions.”
Kirty Topiwala, publisher at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Book Prize manager, said: “Chaired by the utterly brilliant Val McDermid, the judging panel for the Wellcome Book Prize 2017 brings together a broad spectrum of expertise that will no doubt lead to many lively discussions about this year’s submissions. It is such a dynamic time for publishing in the genre of health and medicine, and I can’t wait to see what our judging panel considers the best of these new books that explore what it truly means to be human.”
This will be the eighth year that the £30,000 prize is awarded, which is open to new fiction and non-fiction books published in the UK between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2016.
UK publishers are invited to submit up to three books per imprint by 9th September 2016.