Transplant novel 'Mend the Living' wins Wellcome book prize

AP News
Posted: Apr 24, 2017 2:16 PM

LONDON (AP) — A novel that explores the human side of organ transplantation through the story of a single heart won the medically themed Wellcome Trust Book Prize on Monday.

French author Maylis de Kerangal's "Mend the Living" beat five other finalists to the 30,000-pound ($38,000) prize, which aims to bridge the gap between literature and science.

Translated by Jessica Moore, "Mend the Living" follows a heart over 24 hours, from the time its owner is left brain-dead in a car accident to the moment it begins beating in another body.

Crime writer Val McDermid, who chaired the judging panel, called it a "compelling, original and ambitious" novel that journeys "from trauma to hope."

Funded by health charity Wellcome, the prize is open to fiction and nonfiction works published in Britain that deal with medicine, health or illness.

The other shortlisted books included "When Breath Becomes Air," doctor Paul Kalanithi's posthumously published account of his life with terminal cancer, and Siddhartha Mukherjee's genetics study "The Gene."

Also on the list were Ed Young's look at microbes "I Contain Multitudes," David France's AIDS history "How to Survive a Plague" and Sarah Moss' novel "The Tidal Zone."