Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery is one of four shortlisted biographies.
The judges called it “an addictive, eye-opening and poetic exploration of a brain surgeon’s doubts and drive.”
Winners in the novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book categories are announced on 5 January 2015.
An overall winner – the 2014 Costa Book of the Year – is announced on 27 January.
The shortlists also include two of this year’s Man Booker nominees in the novel category and two books set during World War One in the children’s category.
The Telegraph described Marsh’s Do No Harm as “an elegant series of meditations at the closing of a long career”.
“Many of the stories are moving enough to raise tears: a good few would make a Dalek squeamish,” it said.
One of the country’s top neurosurgeons, Marsh gives a rare insight into the operating theatre and the workings of a modern hospital. His book is also shortlisted for a Guardian first book award.
The Costa Book Awards, open to UK and Ireland-based authors, features 10 male and 10 female writers on the shortlist with ages spanning 29 to 70.
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