Physician-author Siddhartha Mukherjee on Baillie Gifford non-fiction prize longlist

New York: Indian-American physician-author Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee’s ‘The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human’ has been longlisted for the prestigious Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction in UK on Wednesday. 

The New York-based cancer physician and researcher, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, will go up against 12 other authors from around the world for the annual GBP 50,000 prize, which aims to recognize and reward the best of non-fiction and is open to authors of any nationality. Mukherjee’s longlisted work has been described as at once panoramic and intimate and the author’s “most spectacular book yet”. 

“The cell is the foundational unit of life. Its discovery reshaped our understanding of our bodies and brains as never before,” note the judges with reference to the 53-year-old’s latest work. ds by 

“This revolutionized medical practice in the past and, centuries on, holds ever-greater clinical promise for the future. Mukherjee provides the definitive account of this remarkable cellular story, authoritative yet at the same time personal. He has that rarest of scientific gifts – the ability to pull back the magical curtain of complexities to reveal, like cells themselves, the foundations of life,” they said. 

The longlist of 13 books was chosen by this year’s judging panel, which includes the Literary Editor of ‘The Financial Times’ Frederick Studemann, who is also chair of the panel, along with award-winning author Andrea Wulf, theatre critic for ‘The Guardian’ Arifa Akbar, writer and historian Ruth Scurr, journalist and critic Tanjil Rashid, and Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts Andrew Haldane. 

The announcement of the six books shortlisted for this year’s prize will take place on October 8 in a live event at England’s annual Cheltenham Literature Festival, and the winner will be awarded on November 16 at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London. 

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