| LONDON, April 29
LONDON, April 29 American psychologist and
writer Andrew Solomon won the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize on
Tuesday for his "Far From the Tree: a dozen kinds of love" about
raising unusual children ranging from prodigies to those
suffering from autism and dyslexia.
The prize, which is given to a book centred on medicine and
health, is in its fifth year and carries a 30,000-pound
($50,500) cash award.
Describing Solomon's book, 10 years in the making, as a
"monumental work", a statement from the prize jury said it
"tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with
their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in
Drawing on interviews with more than 300 families, the book
covers subjects including deafness, dwarfism, Down's syndrome,
autism, schizophrenia, prodigies, children born of rape,
children convicted of crime and transgender people.
"Solomon has already been widely praised for his depth of
research, his writerly flair and his range of address," poet and
writer Andrew Motion, the head of the judging panel, said in the
statement, adding that the book is "a profound reflection on the
family, and on the influence of medicine and science".
"It's also a book that is driven powerfully by an appeal to
personal experience - by Solomon's recollections of growing up
as a gay man, and by his exploration of the difficulties and
opportunities this created for him," Motion said.
"Taken all together, these things make it an exceptionally
distinguished winner: startlingly intelligent, generously
compassionate, memorably insightful, and courageous."
Solomon said he was honoured and congratulated the Wellcome
Book Prize for choosing a work that wrestles with some of the
thorny issues of medical and social progress.
"There sometimes seems to be an opposition between the
social progress that allows us to accept the range of human
difference and the medical progress that allows us to cure and
eliminate many such differences," Solomon said.
"My book is about the extraordinary stories of love and
compassion that unfold around this duality. For such work to be
recognised by a prize that is specifically focused on medicine
and health indicates the increasing openness to the nuanced
questions of what constitutes health, and what the appropriate
parameters are for medicine."
($1 = 0.5936 British Pounds)
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)