Thursday, 5 November 2009

life takes turns like fiery shadows

Last night I had the privilege of going with a friend to the award ceremony for the first Welcome Trust Book Prize - a new and extremely generous prize, intended to stimulate interest and debate about medicine and literature.

You might think that with medicine and illness being such a central common experience in human life, such a prize would be redundant, so I was most surprised that the winner - Andrea Gillies - mentioned during her speech that the Guardian had declined to publish a review of her book because it wouldn't have suitably general appeal. Keeper is a story about living with someone who's living with Alzheimer's, and it's startling to think that that's considered a niche thing - I know so many people who's lives have been touched both by the disease itself, and by how that illness has changed people they love. It's certainly a book that's now on my reading list, along with several others from the short list.

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