Discover our CWA Daggers

Nominations are now open for 2018/19 Judging Period

CWA Gold Dagger

The CWA Gold Dagger is awarded to the best crime novel of the year. It was originally created in 1955, under the name of the Crossed Red Herrings Award. The first winner was Winston Graham for The Little Walls. It was renamed the Gold Dagger in 1960 and has been awarded ever since with variations in its name depending on sponsorship. Up to 2005 books in translation were eligible for this prize. In 2006 the CWA established a separate dagger for books in translation, recognising the work of the translator as well as that of the original author.

CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

The broadest 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. Ian Fleming said there was one essential criterion for a good thriller – that “one simply has to turn the pages”; this is one of the main characteristics that the judges will be looking for. flemingsteel-172x143

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.

CWA Sapere Books 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 50 years prior to the year in which the award will be made. For novels that involve passages set later than this time period, at least three-quarters of the book should be set in an earlier period.

CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime related theme by an author of any nationality as long as the book was first published in the UK in English during the Judging Period. This award encompasses, though is not limited to, non-fiction works relating to true crime, historical crime, crime-related biography and crime-fiction literature.

CWA International Dagger

This award is for crime novels (defined by the broadest definition including thrillers, suspense novels and spy fiction) as long as the book was not originally written in English and has been translated into English for UK publication during the Judging Period.

CWA Short Story Dagger

This award is for any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment or E-stories from bona fide publishers that pays for contributions during the Judging Period. The term short story refers to a work of fiction no shorter than 1,000 and no longer than 9,000words.

CWA Debut Dagger

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


CWA Diamond Dagger

The CWA Diamond Dagger is selected from nominations provided by CWA members. Nominees have to meet two essential criteria: first, their careers must be marked by sustained excellence, and second, they must have made a significant contribution to crime writing published in the English language, whether originally or in translation. The award is made purely on merit without reference to age, gender or nationality.

CWA Dagger in the Library

is awarded not for an individual book but for an author’s entire body of work

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