2024 CWA Dagger Awards Announced

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Crime Writers Association Dagger

By Writing.ie

The 2024 winners of the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger Awards, which honour the very best in the crime-writing genre, have been announced.

Created in 1955, the world-famous CWA Daggers are the oldest and most respected awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

The Gold Dagger, which is awarded for the best crime novel of the year, went to Una Mannion for her second novel, Tell Me What I Am. The Irish-American author has won numerous prizes for her poetry and short stories.

Mannion beat stalwarts of the genre shortlisted for Gold, including Dennis Lehane and Mick Herron. Past winners of the coveted Gold Dagger, include Ian Rankin, John le Carré, Reginald Hill, and Ruth Rendell.

The judging panel praised it for being ‘haunting and beautifully written’ saying the character-driven thriller ‘expertly examines the boundaries of love, power and control and will stay with you long after you turn the last page.’

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, showcases the thriller of the year. This year it went to Jordan Harper, with his second thriller, Everybody Knows.

Judges said Harper’s novel was ‘brilliantly constructed and fast-paced’ taking readers into the ‘heart of the darkness of Hollywood, guided by a sensationally atypical protagonist.’

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the Daggers Committee, said: “Yet another remarkable year of crime writing in which our impartial judges have uncovered a crop of wonderful books. In a year in which many of our ‘big beasts’ had new books, it’s refreshing to see so many new names and talents winning. And a momentous occasion for independent publishers who have swooped on the majority of the awards and, in particular, Faber & Faber who have achieved a rare double of Gold and Steel Daggers.”

The much-anticipated ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger highlights the best debut novels. 2024’s recipient is Jo Callaghan with her BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick, In the Blink of an Eye, praised for being ‘fresh, original and gripping.’

The Historical Dagger goes to Jake Lamar for Viper’s Dream, a daring look at the jazz-scene of mid-century Harlem and the dangerous underbelly of its drug trade. Judges praised its skilled plotting and ‘elegantly spare prose’ creating a ‘pungent sense of the jazz age’.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction was awarded to Nicholas Shakespeare’s Ian Fleming: The Complete Man, praised as a ‘panoramic biography of the creator of the most charismatic 20th century hero’. Judges found it a ‘deeply felt and meticulous portrait’ that adroitly shows how Bond emerged from Fleming’s own life and career.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger was awarded to Maud Ventura’s My Husband, translated by Emma Ramadan, which was a sensation in France, likened to Patricia Highsmith and Gone Girl. Judges praised its ‘sharp twist in the tail’.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. This year the accolade goes to Sanjida Kay for The Divide in The Book of Bristol, edited by Joe Melia and Heather Marks. Judges said it was a ‘tale of social division, loneliness, and how our desire for connection can make us vulnerable, with a bittersweet conclusion.’

The Dagger in the Library nominees are voted by librarians and library users, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries, and was awarded to Anthony Horowitz.

The CWA judging panel said: “Renowned for Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders on the screen, Anthony’s books are triumphs too; the Alex Rider series, his James Bond, and his Sherlock Holmes novels. Now the author has surpassed himself with standalone mysteries and the endearing, inventive Hawthorne, and Horowitz series.”

The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, goes to Pushkin Vertigo (Pushkin Press).

The CWA Diamond Dagger, awarded to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, is announced in early spring and in 2024 it was jointly awarded to Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke.

The Daggers also recognise individuals whose contributions to the crime genre deserve special merit. The Red Herring Award dates back to 1959, and have been awarded to over 40 recipients. This year it goes to Jean Briggs and Dea Parkin. Darren Wills also received a Red Herring award, which was presented to him privately earlier in the year.

The awards were co-hosted by the Sunday Times bestselling author of Truly Darkly Deeply, Victoria Selman, and the barrister and bestselling author, Imran Mahmood, whose debut You Don’t Know Me was adapted by the BBC.

Guest speaker on the night was the New York Times and Sunday Times number one bestselling author who has been published worldwide in over 25 languages, Lisa Jewell.

The Winners in Full

Crime Writers Association Dagger

GOLD DAGGER

Una Mannion Tell me What I Am, Faber & Faber

IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER

Jordan Harper Everybody Knows, Faber & Faber

ILP JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER

Jo Callaghan In The Blink of An Eye, Simon & Schuster UK

HISTORICAL DAGGER

Jake Lamar Viper’s Dream, No Exit Press

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER

Maud Ventura My Husband, translated by Emma Ramadan, Hutchinson Heinemann

ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

Nicholas Shakespeare Ian Fleming: The Complete Man, Vintage

SHORT STORY DAGGER

Sanjida Kay The Divide from The Book of Bristol edited by Joe Melia and Heather Marks, Comma Press

DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY

Anthony Horowitz

PUBLISHERS’ DAGGER

Pushkin Press

See here for further information.

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