“I have to say I didn’t think in a million years that I would be so lucky to win! Books have always provided a refuge and comfort for me in difficult times. I’m the person who wants to go to a bookshop when she’s sad or angry, because the mere presence of books provides relief. This amazing gift has completely changed my life and I will be forever grateful to Heywood Hill for having chosen my entry!”
Mariadela Villegas, a third year student at the University of Texas in Austin
Mariadela didn’t win the lottery, but as a book lover, she may have won something far more valuable: In a raffle hosted by the London bookshop Heywood Hill to mark its 80th anniversary that attracted more than 50,000 submissions from 100 countries, Mariadela won the grand prize, its “Library of a Lifetime Draw.”
What a totally awesome idea! In launching its innovative contest, Heywood Hill described the “Library of a Lifetime Draw” is “the world’s first major literary prize focused on readers of books, rather writers. The first prize winner will receive the “Library of a Lifetime” — one newly published and hand-picked hardback book per month, for life, delivered anywhere in the world.”
To enter the competition, avid readers had to submit the name of a book that had a profound impact on their reading lives. Lucky winner Mariadela selected “Fahrenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury as her the submission. Here’s how she described her choice: “The mere thought of a world where books are forbidden both fascinated and terrified me. The idea of a band of nomads who are the only remaining links to great works of literature kept me up at night imagining what it would be like for them to know that if something were to happen, a literary classic would be lost forever.”
“We think of Heywood Hill as the biggest little book shop in the world, ” said Tom Nind, the bookstore’s manager. “This raffle is the proof in the pudding. Readers all over the world responded to our call. We are looking forward introducing our winners to new authors and books. We are particularly excited that our first place winner is a true book-lover with whom we can build a long-standing relationship. To create such a unique personal relationship is the delight of what we do. In fact, among our oldest and dearest customers is Patricia Lovejoy from Greenwich, Connecticut, to whom we’ve been sending books every month by mail since the early 1970s”.
Surely, an arrow to the cold hearts of Amazon’s robots! Write on!