2019 Wellcome Book Prize Awarded to murmur by Will Eaves


This year’s Wellcome Book Prize was awarded to Will Eaves’ Murmur, a fictional novel based on the arrest and enforced castration of mathematician Alan Turing. The Wellcome Prize celebrates books, fiction and non-fiction, that “engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness.”




The chair of judges, novelist Elif Shafak, stated:


Murmur is a hugely impressive book that will grip you in the very first pages, break your heart halfway through, and in the end, strangely, unexpectedly, restore your faith in human beings, and their endless capacity for resilience. By the time you finish the book you might fall in love with not only the story and the storytelling, but with the exquisite craft behind it. Every sentence, each character… is well-thought, beautifully written and yet there is a quiet modesty all the way through that is impossible not to admire. Whether he intended this or not, Will Eaves has given us a future classic and for this, we are grateful to him.”

I personally haven’t read the 177-page novel, but now I will be sure to seek it out. Murmur was published in 2018 by the small press publisher CB Editions.


The intriguing shortlist for this prize included Amateur: A Reckoning with Gender, Identity and Masculinity by Thomas Page McBee, Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar, Mind on Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recovery by Arnold Thomas Fanning, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, and The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay and Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein.


Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist

Eaves will receive £30 000 for winning.