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Countdown to CWA Daggers!

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

The build-up is on for one of the biggest nights in Crime Fiction, the CWA Dagger Awards, dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the crime genre!

The award dinner will be hosted at the Leonardo City Hotel on Cooper’s Row in London on June 29th, celebrating the oldest awards in the genre, the Daggers being synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

Ten CWA Daggers will be awarded on the night, including the Dagger in the Library, voted exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries.

The most coveted awards include the Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year, and the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller.

Debut novelists such as Jacqueline Bublitz are pitted against some of the genre’s biggest names on the shortlists, including Laura Lippman, Irish author, John Banville and Linwood Barclay.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “The CWA Daggers have a reputation as a glamorous event and a highlight on the publishing calendar.”

Everyone, including readers, writers, editors, agents, publishers, bloggers and journalists are welcome to attend, but tickets are limited due to reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

Bestselling author and CWA’s Booksellers Champion, Elly Griffiths, will be the after-dinner speaker at the awards. The author of the Dr Ruth Galloway series received the Dagger in the Library in 2016, and her stand-alone novel, The Postscript Murders, was shortlisted for the 2021 CWA Gold Dagger. 

Compering the night is book reviewer, author and journalist Barry Forshaw, one of the UK’s leading experts on crime fiction, along with his Crime Time co-host, Victoria Selman, who writes the serial killer thriller series featuring criminal profiler Ziba MacKenzie.

This year sees the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger sponsored by the CWA Chair, Maxim Jakubowski, in honour of his wife Dolores Jakubowski, who was a translator and university lecturer but now suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Maxim said: “Dolores is well-known to the crime writing community as she’s been at my side for decades at book launches, parties, Dagger Award dinners and festivals worldwide, where she was always popular and a good friend to many involved in the genre.”

Maxim will sponsor the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger in her honour in perpetuity, beginning this year and continuing after his tenure in the Chair.

Ramping up the tension for this year’s Debut Dagger, sponsored by ProWritingAid, is married couple Kevin Bartlett and Liz Rachel Walker. The couple, who live on the West Coast of Canada, are both on the shortlist. Also making the shortlist this year is Anna Maloney who was longlisted in 2019.

The Debut Dagger competition, established in the late 1990s, seeks the best new voices in the genre. Shortlisted and winning entries are sent to agents and publishers, and many writers have earned representation and contracts this way.

The Dagger awards take place at the end of National Crime Reading Month (NCRM) this June, a unique festival promoting the crime genre that’s held throughout the UK and Ireland, instigated and promoted by the CWA, in collaboration with The Reading Agency.

To book a place at the Award dinner, go to: https://thecwa.co.uk/awards-and-competitions/the-daggers/the-awards-dinner



Before You Knew My Name, Jacqueline Bublitz (Little, Brown; Sphere)

Sunset Swing, Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)

Razorblade Tears, SA Cosby (Headline Publishing Group; Headline)

The Unwilling, John Hart (Bonnier Books UK Ltd; Zaffre)

The Shadows of Men, Abir Mukherjee (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

The Trawlerman, William Shaw (Quercus; riverrun)


Find You First, Linwood Barclay (HarperCollins; HQ)

The Pact, Sharon Bolton (Orion) 

The Devil’s Advocate, Steve Cavanagh (Orion)     

Razorblade Tears, SA Cosby (Headline Publishing Group)

Dead Ground, MW Craven (Little, Brown; Constable)

Dream Girl, Laura Lippman (Faber)


Welcome to Cooper, Tariq Ashkanani (Thomas & Mercer)              

Repentance, Eloísa Díaz (Orion Publishing Group; Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Mash House, Alan Gillespie (Unbound; Unbound Digital)

The Appeal, Janice Hallett (Profile Books; Viper Books)

Where Ravens Roost, Karin Nordin (HarperCollins; HQ)

How to Kidnap the Rich, Rahul Raina (Little, Brown)

Waking the Tiger, Mark Wightman (Hobeck Books)


April in Spain, John Banville (Faber)         

Sunset Swing, Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)

Crow Court, Andy Charman (Unbound)

Not One of Us, Alis Hawkins (Canelo)

Edge of the Grave, Robbie Morrison (Pan Macmillan; Macmillan)

A Corruption of Blood, Ambrose Parry (Canongate Books)

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER sponsored in honour of Dolores Jakubowski

Hotel Cartagena, Simone Buchholz translated by Rachel Ward (Orenda Books)    

Bullet Train, Kōtarō Isaka translated by Sam Malissa (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

Oxygen, Sacha Naspini translated by Clarissa Botsford (Europa Editions UK Ltd; Europa Editions)

People Like Them, Samira Sedira translated by Lara Vergnaud (Bloomsbury Publishing; Raven Books)

The Rabbit Factor, Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)            


‘Blindsided’ by Caroline England in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)   

‘London’ in The Jealousy Man and other stories by Jo Nesbⱷ edited by Robert Ferguson (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker)

‘With the Others’ by TM Logan in Afraid of the Shadows edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds)

‘Flesh of a Fancy Woman’ by Paul Magrs in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)   

‘Changeling’ by Bryony Pearce in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)

‘When I Grow Up’ by Robert Scragg in Afraid of the Shadows edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds)


The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion, Dr Gwen Adshead & Eileen Horne (Faber)

The Dublin Railway Murder, Thomas Morris (Penguin Random House; Harvill Secker) 

The Unusual Suspect, Ben Machell (Canongate Books)

The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A true story of sex, crime and the meaning of justice, Julia Laite (Profile Books)

Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe (Pan Macmillan; Picador)

The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Murders that Stunned an Empire, Julie Kavanagh (Atlantic Books; Grove Press UK)


Cath Staincliffe  

Edward Marston  

Lin Anderson  

Mark Billingham  

Susan Hill  


Faber & Faber

HarperCollins; Harper Fiction

Penguin Random House; Michael Joseph

Pushkin Press; Pushkin Vertigo

Titan Books

Profile Books; Viper

DEBUT DAGGER Sponsored by ProWritingAid

Henry’s Bomb, Kevin Bartlett

Holloway Castle, Laura Ashton Hill

The 10:12, Anna Maloney

The Dead of Egypt, David Smith

The Dieppe Letters, Liz Rachel Walker

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