October 3, 2016
London bookshop offers one lucky reader free books for life
by Julia Fleischaker
London’s Heywood Hill bookshop is turning eighty, and to commemorate, they’ve launched a new Library of a Lifetime contest. One lucky winner will get a newly released hardcover, every month, for life. The Guardian’s Alison Flood writes that the prize is a supersized form of an existing service.
The prize is inspired by Heywood Hill’s A Year in Books subscription service, which offers users a reading consultation with the shop’s booksellers to determine their interests, and then a new book each month. One customer in Connecticut, said the shop, has received a monthly book from Heywood Hill for the last 40 years.
“Every person is different. Before we start, we will sit down with the prize winner and find out their reading preferences, and any likes and dislikes,” said [Karin] Scherer.
Scherer, senior Heywood Hill bookseller, is quoted as saying “for the winner it will be an intellectual adventure of a lifetime… Whoever wins the first prize will never have to buy a book again. Instead they can look forward to a lifelong relationship with our bookshop and our booksellers.” And according to the contest page, a few notable names have already submitted the names that are notable to them:
Donna Leon chose A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth — “It’s wonderfully funny”
Kazuo Ishiguro chose The Devils by Fyodor Dostoyevsky — ‘Every character bonkers’
Edmund de Waal chose Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012 by Geoffrey Hill —“Homeric, Essential, Difficult”
Lucy Hughes-Hallett chose The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa —“Best-ever literary death”
Julian Barnes chose The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald —“Her Best (by a Nose)”
William Boyd chose Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov —“Unique, Mind-Boggling, Hilarious”
The second and third place prizes aren’t too shabby either, and the contest is open worldwide. You can enter here!
Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.