2025 Daggers Open for Submission

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

You are invited to submit eligible titles to the new and expanded 2025 CWA Dagger awards, which are now open for entries. 

Daggers Submissions

The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are considered a marker of excellence in the industry and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century. The awards are judged by independent expert panels. 

The oldest membership organisation for crime writers in the UK, the CWA was founded in 1953. It began its awards in 1955, with Agatha Christie as the principal guest at its first awards ceremony in 1956. 

2025 includes two new Daggers, announced earlier this year – the CWA Twisted Dagger and the CWA Whodunnit Dagger. Eligibility criteria for both can be found below. 

The CWA has also refreshed the name of two of its categories: the John Creasey New Blood is now known as the John Creasey First Novel Dagger, and the Debut Dagger is now the Emerging Author Dagger

Vaseem Khan, Chair of the CWA, said: “It’s always exciting when the Daggers open for submission, knowing that the very best books in the genre will shortly be winging their way to our independent judging panels. This year is extra special. Expanding the Daggers was one of my pledges as chair. The new Daggers recognise two subgenres that have grown to dominate the publishing landscape in recent years and I, for one, am excited to see who the first recipients of these Daggers will be. And in terms of refreshing the titles of the John Creasey New Blood and Debut Daggers – that was simply rectifying a longstanding point of confusion. The John Creasey First Novel Dagger is for a full-length debut novel while the Emerging Author Dagger is for early chapters of a work by an unpublished, unagented author.” 

Crime fiction is now the most popular genre in publishing, with this trend showing no signs of abating. 

The CWA’s mission is to promote the genre and act as a voice for the interests of its author members. 

The Daggers are one of the most inclusive genre awards, with categories for crime fiction in translation, short stories, and new authors, alongside the Gold Dagger for the novel of the year and Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller. 

Eligible books for the CWA Twisted Dagger are psychological thrillers (set in any period), suspense thrillers, and domestic noir. The Dagger will celebrate dark and twisty tales that often feature unreliable narrators, disturbed emotions, a healthy dose of moral ambiguity, and a sting in the tail. Judges for this Dagger are Gavin Bell (aka writer Mason Cross), Tracy Fenton (founder of THE Book Club on Facebook) and writer Susi Holliday 

Eligible books for the CWA Whodunnit Dagger include cosy crime (including the ‘modern cosy’), traditional crime, and Golden Age inspired mysteries. These books focus on the intellectual challenge at the heart of a good mystery and revolve around often quirky characters. The judges for this Dagger are writers, Steph Broadribb, Derek Farrell and Gytha Lodge. 

Crime Writers Association

Submission guidelines for the 2025 Daggers are now live on the CWA website. 

The longlist will be announced at the CWA annual conference on 20th April, and the shortlist at the UK’s biggest crime fiction convention, CrimeFest, hosted in Bristol on Friday 10th May; the Dagger awards ceremony takes place in the summer. 

See here for further information.

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