Wellcome Book Prize reveals Marion Coutts designed 'Books Are My Bag' tote

Marion Coutts, artist and author of Wellcome Book Prize 2015 winning memoir The Iceberg, has designed a special Wellcome Book Prize edition Books Are My Bag tote to mark this year’s prize.

Celebrating the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, the Wellcome Book Prize showcases the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction. Coutts won last year’s prize for her critically acclaimed memoir, The Iceberg, a touching account of her husband’s brain tumour diagnosis and death.

Inspired by how we read and experience books – dipping in and out, saving passages, making notes and flitting between pages – the design merges Coutts’ dual professions, as artist and professor at Goldsmiths University, and as a writer.

The limited edition tote bags will be distributed to bookshops, libraries and at events around the country through the prize’s partnerships with the Booksellers Association, Gardners, The Reading Agency and Hay Festival.

I wanted to make a design that was very simple and direct. I was thinking about the process of how people think through books. You can be engrossed and then something jumps out and catches your eye and you mark it, notice it in some way. That’s the great thing about books, you can return to them again and again.
— Marion Coutts, artist, winner of the Wellcome Book Prize 2015
We are delighted to reveal Marion Coutts’ special Wellcome Book Prize 2016 tote bag design and are so thankful for her continued support of the prize. We feel honoured to have such an extraordinary bank of prize alumni who continue to support our work in celebrating the very best books that spotlight the human experience of medicine and medical science. We love collaborating with the Booksellers Association who have been great supporters of the prize and are thrilled to be sharing the bag with retailers, partners and book lovers all over the UK.
— Zoe Middleton, Wellcome Collection marketing manager

The shortlist for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016 was announced on Monday 14 March and comprises six wonderful books:

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate)
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss (Granta)
It’s All in Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan (Chatto & Windus)
Playthings by Alex Pheby (Galley Beggar Press)
The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink (Picador)
Neurotribes by Steve Silberman (Allen & Unwin)

From memoirs on addiction (The Outrun) and on the aftermath of a debilitating accident (The Last Act of Love) to studies on autism (Neurotribes) and psychosomatic illnesses (It’s All in Your Head), the non-fiction contenders reflect a broader preoccupation with the human mind, while the two works of fiction on the list offer an immersive account of schizophrenia (Playthings) and an account of the pioneering work of an early female medic (Signs for Lost Children). As a group, the titles represent a collective conversation on medicine in literature today, demonstrating the wealth of human experience this cultural sector explores.

The winner will be revealed at a special ceremony on Monday 25 April, 2016.

This year’s judging panel is chaired by acclaimed author, journalist and broadcaster, Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE, and consists of Frances Balkwill OBE, Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute and an author of science books for children; writer, columnist and salonnière, Damian Barr; award-winning novelist, Tessa Hadley; and award-winning journalist and author, Sathnam Sanghera.

Alongside Marion Coutts, previous winners of the Prize include: Andrew Solomon for Far From the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010, and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – A Journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.

For more information, please visit www.wellcomebookprize.org or keep up to date with the Prize on Twitter @wellcomebkprize.