We’re super-stoked for this nugget of great news to pass along!

A FEW WEEKS ago we were excited to report that Laura Cook — Matador community member and student of the MatadorU travel photography program — won The Guardian’s contest for November with her entry seen above, titled Solitude.

We were also pumped to see that a couple of other MatadorU students — Genevieve Hathaway and Stephen Chapman — had their photos short-listed in the contest. Laura’s November win put her in a position to win the grand prize, she just had to have hers chosen at the end of the year out of the other monthly winners in 2011. This she did. She was recently declared the overall winner, and with that comes a trip to South Africa to partake in a safari and be on assignment for the British newspaper.

As for the choice, Guardian judge Natalle Mayer had this to say:

The overall winner was a really hard one to pick. So many strong and fantastic entries. I’ve chosen this one because it shows a really good understanding of light and composition. The subject matter is out of the ordinary (I don’t suppose there were any other photographers there) and so the photographer has displayed some original thought and keenness for finding an original scene. I think it shows really good photographic potential and I’d love to see more work from this photographer. I hope the safari provides some wonderful opportunities. Good luck and well done!

From the Matador crew, congratulations, Laura! We’re excited to continue following your story.