Last night at a ceremony in Wellcome Collection, this year’s Wellcome Trust Book Prize was awarded to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
The book tells the story of a poor tobacco farmer whose cancer cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. Skloot took a decade to research and write the book, which weaves together Lacks’s family story, the first culturing of HeLa cells (as they became known) to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans and the birth of bioethics.
As mentioned on this Blog, you will find copies of all the shortlisted books for the Prize in the Wellcome Library. We also have a huge array of titles on the theme of Bioethics and our archive holdings on the wider theme of Medical Ethics are summarised in two Sources Guides. Previous posts on this Blog have also shown HeLa cells from Wellcome Images and discussed the cells scientific and cultural impact.
Tickets are also still available for our next Library Medicine and Literature event on the 17th November, which will discuss writing about medicine through time. More details are available here.
For more details on the Book Prize announcement, see the Wellcome Trust’s website.