Nemesis (Vintage) will battle fellow Random House title, Alice LaPlante’s Alzheimer’s thriller Turn of Mind (Harvill Secker), alongside two Harper titles: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Fourth Estate) and Louisa Young’s My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (HarperCollins). The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso (Granta) completes the list.
The prize, now in its third year, celebrates works of fiction and non-fiction on the theme of health, illness or medicine.
Chair of judges, writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry, said: “The shortlist is really varied, one non-fiction, one autobiography and four novels. It shows that if authors want to engage the public in medicine, genre is no barrier to success . . . All I can say at this stage is: 'boy, is that final meeting going to be lively!'”.