Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat Pray Love, Nominated for Wellcome Book Prize

Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat Pray Love, Nominated for Wellcome Book Prize

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert's new novel, The Signature of All Things, is on the shortlist for this year's £30,000 Wellcome book prize. Her book, about botany and exploration, is competing against more straightforwardly scientific titles, since the Wellcome prize can be awarded to fiction or non-fiction titles. Gilbert's book is the only novel to be shortlisted for the award. Only one fiction novel has ever won this prize before, Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind in 2011. The winner of the Wellcome book prize will be announced on April 29th.

The other contenders are: Oliver Sacks, Emily Mayhew, Adam Rutherford, Andrew Solomon, and Sarah Wise. chair of judges and former poet laureate Andrew Motion, the chair of judges, said that the books up for contention reveal "new and often surprising things about the human condition". He goes on to say that, "The Wellcome book prize highlights the importance of literature in connecting medicine, life and art. The six shortlisted titles] range from frightening tales of 'inconvenient' Victorians to the strange world of hallucinations; from the return journeys of Great War battlefield casualties to an important new concept of 'horizontal families'; and from a beautiful story of a 19th-century explorer to a fresh take on the origins of life."

The other judges on the panel are authors Lisa Appignanesi and James Runcie, journalist Hadley Freeman and scientist Michael Mosley. Wellcome prize's organisers said that the judges looked for books that "reward curiosity, inspire debate, move us, and through writing of the highest quality challenge the ways in which we imagine ourselves and the world around us".

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