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Marion Coutts wins Wellcome Book Prize 2015

30 Apr, 2015


Last night in the packed out Wellcome Collection Reading Room, Marion Coutts was revealed as the winner of the 2015 Wellcome Book Prize for her book The Iceberg.

Coutts’ memoir of the 18 months leading up to her partner’s death of a brain tumour was described by Chair of Judges Bill Bryson as “beautifully written, painful to read but very, very beautifully expressed. She recalls things with such vivid detail you feel almost as if you are reliving this experience with her. It’s an incredibly powerful book.”


Coutts was joined by her fellow shortlisted authors before the big reveal: Henry Marsh for his account of his life as a brain surgeon in Do No Harm, Sarah Moss for Bodies of Light about the first female doctors, Alice Roberts for The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being which chronicles our complex evolution, Scott Stossel for his account of one man’s battle with anxiety in My Age of Anxiety and Miriam Toews for All My Puny Sorrows a story of sisters and suicide.

The crowd cheered as Coutts was announced as the winner, clearly agreeing with the decision of the judging panel.

On taking to the stage to accept her prize from Bill Bryson, Coutts gave a heartfelt speech about the inspiration behind the book and dedicated it to her son Eugene and her husband Tom.

Bryson explained the process behind selecting a winner with his fellow judges: “From an extremely strong shortlist of books that blend exquisite writing with scientific rigour and personal experience, ‘The Iceberg’ stood out. Marion Coutts’ account of living with her husband’s illness and death is wise, moving and beautifully constructed. Reading it, you have the sense of something truly unique being brought into the world – it stays with you a long time after.”

The judging panel was chaired by Bryson who was joined by pioneering autism researcher Professor Uta Frith DBE, bestselling author Mark Haddon, BBC presenter Razia Iqbal and barrister Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.


Marion Coutts is an artist and writer. She wrote the introduction to Tom Lubbock’s memoir Until Further Notice, I Am Alive, published by Granta in 2012. She is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and lives in London with her son.

To find out more about the prize you can follow Wellcome Book Prize on Twitter or visit the website.

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