5 speakers 15 minutes each
Tue 30th Apr 2019
Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist
Wilton's Music Hall
The Trauma Cleaner One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster. The author Sarah Krasnostein charts the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bringing order and care to the living and the dead, in her role as a trauma cleaner. A compelling story of a fascinating life, and an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together. Sarah Krasnostein is a writer and a legal researcher with a doctorate in criminal law. She was born in America, studied in Melbourne, Australia, and has lived and worked in both countries. Her first book, The Trauma Cleaner, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Prize for Non-Fiction in the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards as well as the Australian Book Industry Award for General Non-Fiction. She lives in Melbourne and spends part of the year working in New York City.
Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review and was granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first book, the novella McGlue, was recently published by Vintage. Her novel Eileen was awarded the 2016 PEN/Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her collection of stories, Homesick for Another World, was published in 2017. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2019.
Taking its cue from the arrest and legally enforced chemical castration of the mathematician Alan Turing, Murmur is the account of a man who responds to intolerable physical and mental stress with love, honour and a rigorous, unsentimental curiosity about the ways in which we perceive ourselves and the world. Convicted of gross indecency with another male in 1952, Turing was sentenced to a regimen of punitive hormonal injection. He grew breasts, survived the year-long ordeal, but died in 1954. Verdict: suicide. Alec Pryor – the book’s avatar for Turing – is caught between fascination and horror as he becomes a new version of himself. The novel asks: what does great bodily change (torture) do to a person’s mind? The bulk of the book is a sequence of dreams and letters; these are bookended by extracts from a fictional journal that show a brilliant intellect struggling to come to terms with the effects of that change. It further asks: how does a mathematician, so used to removing personal bias from analysis – the sine qua non of scientific method – fit the personal experience of pain/joy/love back into a neutral explanatory scheme? Will Eaves is the author of four novels and two collections of poetry. He was Arts Editor of the Times Literary Supplement from 1995 to 2011, and now teaches at the University of Warwick.
Sandeep Jauhar – cardiologist, bestselling author and New York Times columnist – beautifully weaves his own experiences with the defining discoveries of the past to tell the story of our most vital organ. Sandeep Jauhar looks at some of the pioneers who risked their careers and their patients’ lives to better understand the heart. People like Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the world’s first documented heart surgery, and Wilson Greatbach, who accidentally invented the pacemaker. Amid gripping scenes from the operating theatre, Jauhar tells stories about the patients he has treated. And he relates the moving tale of his family’s own history of heart problems, from his grandfather’s sudden death in India – an event that sparked his lifelong obsession with the heart – to the first ominous signs of his own mortality. He also confronts the limits of medical technology and argues that future progress will be determined more by how we choose to live than by any device we invent. Sandeep Jauhar is director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. A first responder on 9/11, he is the New York Times bestselling author of two medical memoirs, Doctored: The disillusionment of an American physician and Intern: A doctor’s initiation. He is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He lives on Long Island with his wife and their son and daughter. Heart: A history is his first book to be published in the UK.
Arnold Thomas Fanning
Arnold Thomas Fanning
Arnold Thomas Fanning had his first experience of depression during adolescence, following the death of his mother. In his 20s, he was overcome by mania and delusions. Thus began a terrible period in which he was often suicidal, increasingly disconnected from family and friends, sometimes in trouble with the law, and homeless for a winter in London. Drawing on his own memories, the recollections of people who knew him when he was at his worst, and medical records, Fanning has produced a beautifully written, devastatingly intense account of madness - and recovery, to the point where he has not had any serious illness for over a decade. Very few people have gone through what Fanning went through and emerged alive, well, and capable of telling the tale with such skill and insight. Mind on Fire is the gripping, sometimes harrowing and ultimately uplifting testament of a person who has visited hellish regions of the mind and survived. It is a book for anyone who has experienced mental illness, who is close to someone mentally ill, or who wishes to understand the workings of the disordered mind.