Richard Owain Roberts has won the Guardian Not the Booker Prize with his debut novel, Hello Friends We Missed You (Parthian 2020). The winner is decided by a mixture of public vote and a judging panel, and this year the judges agreed with the public.
Sam Jordison, writing about the prize in The Guardian said,
…it was a fine shortlist that required serious deliberations before we could decide on a winner – you can catch up with our discussion on the video below. At the end of this process, we have a worthy winner. Hello Friend We Missed You is just the kind of book we hope to find with the Not the Booker prize. It’s a title that has not yet been widely reviewed, from a small publisher and – most importantly – by a writer of real talent and potential. It took me by surprise when I read it, and it’s haunted me ever since. It’s formally daring, with clipped sentences, short elliptical chapters, and almost impressionistic streams of thought. It’s also very funny. (The title itself turns out to be a fine joke about Domino’s Pizza.) But it’s the emotional complexity and gentle melancholy of the book that endures. It’s a moving experience – and that matters. Especially in a difficult year such as this one.