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Winner of the 2020 Scholarship

We at are big believers in the power of words and books to shape worldviews, inspire action, and transform lives.

With far more than one hundred million published titles in the world today, there is no way anyone of us can run out of new books to read in one lifetime. Yet, there are many people in underprivileged communities who lack access to these repositories of knowledge and wonder. That is why with every translation order, we donate five books to a homeless shelter.

This year, to further champion the pursuit of knowledge, decided to award a $500 scholarship to a deserving student.

The essay prompt

Every applicant of the scholarship was required to write an essay between 500 and 750 words based on the prompt below:

Books allow us to step outside ourselves and see the world through another’s eyes. What book changed the way you see the world? How did this book overturn your preconceptions and inform your understanding of a place, culture, people, or something else?

Altogether, we received 199 submissions from high school and college students across the United States. Their essays gave us insight into the unique ways each person’s life and perspectives could be changed by a particular book.

Be it fiction or nonfiction, scientific or philosophical, we were delighted to discover the breadth of books that have played a transformative role in the lives of readers. After reading all of the essays that we received, we’re happy to announce that we have found the winner of Scholarship 2020.

And the winner is...

Morgan Hoppman!

While other applicants wrote about a book they have read that has changed the way they see the world, Morgan, a student at Coastal Carolina University of South Carolina, takes us on a journey of being transformed by a book written by Morgan himself. What started off as writing as a way to deal with having to live with his “annoying little brother” has turned out to be an adventure of seeing the world through his brother’s eyes and, in the process, inevitably becoming a more compassionate and loving sibling.

Two other individuals whose essays deserve honorable mentions are Katelyn Gilson from Auburn University and Philip al Mutawaly from Bowdoin College.

By reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Katelyn saw the world through the lens of a murderer and became aware of how it is man’s nature to justify his every transgression.

Philip gives us an interesting glimpse of power and societal adherence through Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Essentially, his essay helps us see the degree of consent we unwittingly give to authorities to determine the way we act in society.

Congratulations, Morgan, on winning the 2020 Scholarship. Whether you read or write them, we hope books will never lose their transformative power in your life.


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