Bill Bryson, chair of the 2015 £30,000 Wellcome book prize, has said brain surgery, death, cruelty, anxiety and grief are all explored in the shortlisted books – with laughs and joy amid the suffering. The prize celebrates books on an aspect of medicine, health or illness.
All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews – a novel which deals with suicide
Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss – a Victorian-era story of maternal cruelty and illness.
My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel, a personal account of his battle with anxiety
The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being by Alice Roberts, BBC presenter & Guardian columnist. She takes a tour around the human body
Do No Harm by Henry Marsh, in which he gives readers an insight into his working life as a neurosurgeon
The Iceberg by Marion Coutts, an account of the illness and death of her husband, the critic Tom Lubbock.
Bryson said the books were very different but what they had in common was the quality of writing and the depth of content. He said his entry into science had been through literature, and one of the key aims of the Wellcome prize was to encourage others to follow the same path.
The winner will be announced on the 29th April.