Crime Writer’s Association Dagger Awards

Crime Writer’s Association Dagger Awards

Emily Glenister, PA of  David Headley, Managing Director D H H Literary Agency (both from Goldsboro Books and LIBRARY members) gave us an insight into CWA Dagger Awards evening.  




On Tuesday 11th October 2016 at precisely 7pm, the finest people in the literary world came together to celebrate a year of writing in the crime genre at the Crime Writer’s Association   Dagger Awards.


This year’s Awards were special because all the prizes were given out on the same night (the previous years having been split between the “TV” Daggers, presented at a televised function along with non-CWA awards for TV crime series, and the “other” Daggers which the CWA presented at their annual dinner). In the words of Chair L.C. Tyler (The Herring Seller’s Apprentice, The Plague Road), “In a form of literary Brexit we have boldly taken control of our own destinies again – or to put it another way, whatever happens tonight, we have nobody to blame but ourselves”.




As a sponsor of the Awards, Goldsboro Books were lucky enough to have a whole table to ourselves plus a few invited guests including Lisa Campbell, News Editor for The Bookseller; Adam Hamdy, whose novel Pendulum is released on 3 November; Stuart Turton, whose debut novel, The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle, has just been sold to Bloomsbury, Marsh Agency Foreign Rights Agent Jemma McDonagh, Artist’s Partnership TV & Film Rights Agent Emily Hayward-Whitlock, agents from the DHH Literary Agency – and of course, the GB Team (that’s Goldsboro Books chaps, not Great Britain).  


The Awards themselves were held at the Grange City Hotel with stunning views of the Tower of London from the front entrance and kicked off with a drinks reception at 6.30pm (which this blogger was late to, thanks to the glorious London rush-hour traffic…).


Once dinner was eaten and drinks replenished, it was down to business. Chair L.C. Tyler (and DHH author) gave his opening speech, thanking everyone for attending and graciously congratulating all the nominees, both long and shortlist.




One of the things we as an audience were told was to switch off all mobile phones (boo hiss!) and to not take any photographs, which I obeyed almost to the letter. Of course, a few snuck through; like this one below of Grantchester creator and writer James Runcie, who spoke about the algorithmic crime fiction. Pure genius.


Barry Forshaw was our Host for the evening (who incidentally, is hosting Goldsboro Books’ forthcoming First Monday Crime on Monday 7 November at LIBRARY). For those of you who don’t know – and for shame – Barry is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. He has written on books and films for many newspapers and magazines, is the author of a few himself (The Rough Guide To Crime Fiction, Nordic Noir) and is one of the talking heads for the ITV Crime Thriller author profiles.



CWA Debut Dagger

The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially.

Judges: Leigh Russell; Stephanie Glencross; Frankie Gray; Bill Massey

Nominees: Graham Brack – A Reconstructed Man; Mark Brandi – Wimmera; Rita Catching – A State Of Grace; John Kennedy – Dark Valley; Roz Watkins – The Devil’s Dice.

Winner: Mark Brandi – Wimmera


Dagger In the Library

The Dagger In the Library is awarded for an author’s entire body of work.

Judges: Mobeena Khan; Stewart Bain; Jennifer Stewart; Sue Wilkinson

Nominees: Tony Black; Alison Bruce; Elly Griffiths; Quintin Jardine

Winner: Elly Griffiths – Dr. Ruth Galloway series


CWA Short Story Dagger

This award is for any crime short story published in the UK in English or broadcast in the UK in return for payment.

Judges: Ayo Onatade; Michael Carlson; Sophie Goodfellow

Nominees: Andrea Camilleri – As Alice Did; John Connolly – On the Anatomization of An Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier; John Connolly – Holmes On the Range: A Tale Of the Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository; Christopher Fowler – Bryant & May and the Nameless Woman; Alberto Barrera Tyszka – Stray Bullets; Conrad Williams – Rosenlaui

Winner: John Connolly – On the Anatomization of An Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier



CWA International Dagger

This award is for crime novels not originally written in English and have been translated in to English for UK publication during the judging period.

Judges: Janet Laurence; Ruth Morse; Kasia Boddy; John Crace

Nominees: Sascha Arango – The Truth and Other Lies; Deon Meyer – Icarus; Hideo Yokoyama – Six Four; Pierre Lemaître – The Great Swindle; Cay Rademacher – The Murderer In Ruins

Winner: Pierre Lamaître – The Great Swindle


CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime related theme.

Judges: Robert Richardson; Helen Pepper; Vanessa Thorpe; Carol Anne Davies; Phillip Gooden

Nominees: Martin Edwards – The Golden Age of Murder; Andrew Hankinson – You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life (You Are Raoul Moat); Thomas Grant – Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories; Wensley Clarkson – Sexy Beasts: The Hatton Garden Mob; Luke Harding – A Very Expensive Poison; Adam Sisman – John le Carré: The Biography.

Winner: Andrew Hankinson – You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life (You Are Raoul Moat)


CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger

This award is for the best historical crime novel, first published in the UK in English during the judging period, set in any period up to 35 years prior to the year in which the award will be made.

Judges: Eileen Roberts; Ted Childs; Doreen Innes; Jake Kerridge; Louise Service

Nominees: Michelle Birkby – The House At Baker Street; William Shaw – A Book Of Scars; A.J. Wright – Striking Murder; Philip Kerr – The Other Side of Silence; Fiona Veitch Smith – The Jazz Files; David Young – Stasi Child

Winner: David Young – Stasi Child


CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

This award is for the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality, first published in the UK in English during the judging period.

Judges: Maxim Jakubowski; Louise Weir; Peter Gutteridge; Dave Hutchinson

Nominees: Tim Baker – Fever City; Jax Miller – Freedom’s Child; Nicholas Searle – The Good Liar; Bill Beverly – Dodgers; Ottessa Moshfegh – Eileen

Winner: Billy Beverly – Dodgers


CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

The broadcast definition of the thriller novel is used for eligible books: these can be set in any period and include, but are not limited to, spy fiction and / or action/adventure stories.

Judges: Josephine Lane; Diggory Laycock; Heather O’Donoghue; Ali Karim; Mark Lawson; Iain Finlayson

Nominees: Lee Child – Make Me; Mick Herron – Real Tigers; The English Spy – Daniel Silva; Adrian McKinty – Rain Dogs; Don Winslow – The Cartel

Winner: Don Winslow – The Cartel


Goldsboro Gold Dagger

As sponsors of this particular award, Goldsboro Books were very excited about this one. This award is quite simply, for the best crime novel of the year.

Judges: Richard Reynolds; Karen Blewett; Myles Allfrey; Barry Forshaw; Janice Pfister; Jo Hesselwood; Philip Robey

Nominees: Christopher Brookmyre – Black Widow; Denise Mina – Blood Salt Water; Bill Beverly – Dodgers; Mick Herron – Real Tigers

Winner: Bill Beverly – Dodgers*

*that’s right, TWO awards for Mr. Beverly – an incredible achievement!



Diamond Dagger

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the Diamond Dagger Award. This is a lifetime achievement award, made by the CWA on behalf of all its members, and based on their nominations.



This year’s winner, PETER JAMES, is one of the UK’s most treasured crime and thriller novelists. He has written 30 novels, including the crime thriller series featuring Brighton-based protagonist Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. Peter’s books are published in the UK by Pan Macmillan, have sold over 18 million copies worldwide and have been translated in 37 languages. The series has frequently topped The Sunday Times bestseller lists and has the distinction of toppling both Fifty Shades of Greyand The Girl On the Train from the number one spot. Peter is also an established film producer, whose credits include The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino. A TV adaptation of the Roy Grace series is currently in development with Peter involved in all aspects.


He has an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton in recognition of his services to literature and the community, is Patron of Neighbourhood Watch nationwide and Patron of Crimestoppers and Brighton & Hove Samaritans in Sussex. Peter has been Chair of The Crime Writers Association and has won many literary awards, including the publicly voted ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards People’s Bestseller Dagger. He was also shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. In the US he won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel in 2012. Last year, 2015, he was voted by WHSmith readers as The Best Crime Author of All Time. His latest Roy Grace Novel, Love You Dead, was published in May 2016.


In announcing the award, the CWA said, “Peter is the king of the police procedural. His books combine up-to-0the-minute accuracy with tight plotting and a fast pace. Over the past thirty years or so, Peter has established himself as one of the best-known and best-loved thriller writers in the country. He is immensely supportive of other authors and his wide-ranging work within and outside the genre has been recognised by both Brighton University and the Sussex Police. We know that Peter winning the Diamond Dagger will be a popular choice among the readers and other crime writers.”


With that, the evening was over and it was carriages home for all. It was my first time at the CWA Dagger Awards, and I hope the first of many. I had a wonderful time and jokes aside – I feel very proud and privileged to be a part of this wonderful world they call “BOOKS”.