Maxim Jakubowski, a long-standing and influential figure in the publishing world, is announced as the new Chair of the world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA). Maxim’s career has encompassed every aspect of publishing as an editor, translator, publisher, author and critic. Born in England by Russian-British and Polish parents, but raised in France, Maxim has also lived in Italy and travelled extensively. Following a lengthy editorial career in both France and the UK, during which time he launched several crime imprints, including Black Box Thrillers and Blue Murder, he opened the Murder One bookstore in London, which became an institution for 20 years. He now writes and edits full-time. Maxim has compiled over 120 anthologies including the Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Pulp Fiction, Vintage Crime, Future Cops and London, Paris, Rome and Venice Noir. He won the Anthony award for non-fiction for 100 Great Detectives. He is also the author of 20 novels, several of which have made The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller list in another genre. A director of London’s past Crime Scene festival, Maxim was also the co-chair of the Nottingham Bouchercon and is a regular broadcaster on matters literary on TV and radio, and a frequent participant in crime festivals around the world. He was for 12 years the Guardian’s crime reviewer. Maxim was voted in unanimously as Chair at the CWA’s annual general meeting this April. He was elected to its committee in 2014, and held the role of Joint Vice Chair from 2017 and Publishers Liaison Officer from 2019. He is replacing the outgoing chair, Linda Stratmann, after she served the maximum two-year term in the role.
He said: “As a member for several decades of the CWA, I am excited to take the helm of a vital organisation, which is constantly in the process of reinventing itself and am keen to see it becoming even more relevant to writers in a changing literary and publishing landscape, and currently troubled social landscape. With board members past and new at my side, I hope that my stewardship will do honour to my illustrious predecessors in the chair.”
The AGM also saw two new faces join the committee. Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin joins as a board member. Vanessa writes best-selling crime novels as Sam Blake and is founder of the multi-award-winning writing resource website, Writing.ie and Murder One, Ireland’s international crime writing festival. She’s joined by Simon Michael, a barrister since 1978, who began writing crime fiction in the 1980s alongside a successful Legal 500 career and retired early in 2016 to resume his writing career. Simon has also established and managed a national charity.
The CWA was founded in 1953 by the prolific crime writer John Creasey. Its aim is to support, promote and celebrate the genre and its authors. It runs the prestigious annual CWA Dagger Awards, which celebrate the best in crime writing. A thriving, growing community with a membership encompassing authors of all ages and at all stages of their careers, the CWA is UK-based, yet attracts many members from overseas. It also supports libraries and booksellers, with two Library Champions and a Booksellers Champion, and has links with various festivals and many other writers’ organisations such as the Society of Authors.