Catton reportedly seemed surprised at her win. The judges, however, noted that her book was written with a maturity normally seen in more seasoned authors. "It is a novel of astonishing control," said the panel's chairman.
The author beat out We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, Harvest by Jim Crace, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, and The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin. Next year, the prize — which has been historically awarded to writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe, or the Commonwealth — will open up the competition to all authors who write in English. Some fear that American writers will tip the scales once they're allowed to contend. But, the Booker Foundation chairman, Jonathan Taylor, put it another way: "It is rather as if the Chinese were excluded from the Olympic Games.” (NYT)