New Daggers Added to Prestigious Crime Writing Awards | Guest Bloggers | Crime Scene

Louise Phillips

The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers – the most prestigious awards for crime, mystery, and thriller writers – has announced two new award categories.

Entries are open in early 2024 for the CWA Twisted Dagger and the CWA Whodunnit Dagger.

The Twisted Dagger is aimed at psychological and suspense thrillers and the Whodunnit Dagger covers cosy crime, traditional mysteries, and Golden Age crime.

The oldest membership organisation for crime writers in the UK, the CWA was founded 70 years ago in 1953. It began its awards in 1955, with Agatha Christie as the principal guest at its first awards ceremony in 1956.

Vaseem Khan, Chair of the CWA, said: “Earlier this year, when I took over as Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, I pledged to add two new Daggers to our awards roster. One of my aims as CWA Chair is to evolve the CWA’s offering in line with the genre. The Daggers should not be static.”

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

Vaseem added: “Psychological thrillers have dominated the crime fiction landscape in recent years and now cosy crime is having its moment, with Golden Age crime also enjoying a resurgence. These Daggers recognise these trends, and I, for one, am excited to see the range of books that publishers – and authors – will submit to these new awards.”

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

The 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.

They are also one of the most inclusive genre awards that recognise the broad church of the genre, with categories for crime fiction in translation, short stories, and debut authors, alongside the Gold Dagger for the novel of the year and Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller.

Crime Writers Association

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.

Eligible books for the CWA Whodunnit Dagger include cosy crime (including the ‘modern cosy’), traditional crime, and Golden Age mysteries. These books focus on the intellectual challenge at the heart of a good mystery, and revolve around often quirky characters.

Entries open in early 2024 on the CWA website and the inaugural awards will be presented at the annual Dagger awards ceremony in 2025.

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