Mariadela Villegas is a third-year student at the University of Texas at Austin. She won the Library of a Lifetime Award from Heywood Hill, a London bookstore that opened in 1936.
Heywood Hill will send her one book a month for the rest of her life.
“The way that the subscription works is that you have a consultation with the bookstore and they contact one of their booksellers,” Villegas says. “So the bookseller, using that, handpicks a recently published hardcover book and they send them to you.”
To enter the contest, Villegas had to nominate a book the was important to her.
“I decided to pick a book that actually speaks to my love of books: Fahrenheit 451,” she says. “This land where books are forbidden and where people are the living embodiment of books was just something so both terrifying and fascinating.”
If she were to live in a dystopian world where books were banned, she knows what she would do.
“If it ever came to it, I definitely would hide a book,” she says. “I know I definitely would. But to pick one is so difficult for me.”
Villegas has loved books her whole life, making this the perfect prize.
“I was always a girl that didn’t want Cinderella’s castle – I wanted Belle’s library,” she says. “I want that big floor-to-ceiling library in my house, filled with books. And now it just seems it’s a more attainable goal.”