The award was presented by Penguin editor Alexis Washam and VP/ECD Penguin Art Group Paul Buckley after the first series of Hearts & Minds talks at the event. Overall, Buckley and Washam found the quality of entries to be high. "I am a big believer in the saying 'there are many ways to skin a cat,'" said Buckley. "Seeing these covers, many of which I'd have been thrilled to use for final, prove just that... so many in their own way, match the content of the book and the voice of its author."
As for Matt Taylor's winning design, "of all the entries, we thought that his was the most striking, original and powerful image, and we think it will particularly attract the kind of reader that we're trying to reach with this book," said Penguin's Washam. "We were also very impressed by Taylor's approach to his design—rather than using a literal interpretation of the plot, he was inspired by a line in the novel that describes the inner turmoil of the main characters, and this cover image perfectly reflects the mood and vision of The Island at the End of the World."
Contest winner Taylor (no relation to the book's author) graduated in 2002 from the U.K.'s Buckinghamshire University with a graphic design degree. In the years since, the 28-year-old has worked as a freelance illustrator and for a few years took time off from his art to work for the U.S. park service clearing trees and making trails, and also ran a shoe shop. Last year, the Brighton-based Taylor returned to his creative calling, doing character design for a mobile new media company, more illustration and exhibiting his art work in galleries.