Entering the Debut Dagger?

Terms and Conditions

CWA Dagger Awards 2018-2019

Terms and Conditions of Entry


Only publishers who are on the CWA List of Approved Publishers will be eligible to enter the CWA Dagger Awards – if you are not listed please contact dagger.liaison@gmail.com to confirm your eligibility and to be added to the list.

Relating to the CWA Dagger Awards for: Gold; ALCS Gold for Non Fiction; International; Short Story; Historical; John Creasey (New Blood) and Ian Fleming Steel. Any UK publisher may enter titles provided that the work is relevant to the appropriate award, as defined under Eligibility (section 2), and the first UK edition was published within the specified dates of the Judging Period (section 1). Publishers in the Republic of Ireland who distribute in the UK via trade channels but do not have a presence in the UK will be accepted if the book is priced in pounds sterling or was dual priced £/€. The definition of “work” is a novel, short story or non-fiction book.

  1. Deadlines

The 2018-2019 Daggers are for works published between April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 inclusive. Books should be submitted to the judges as soon as possible after publication. After November 1, 2018, any title received by the judges more than 30 days after its original publication date may be excluded at the discretion of the appropriate Chair of Judges. All online forms must be completed, and processing fees paid by February 28, 2019. Publishers then have a further week until March 8, 2019 to deliver the work to the judges. This is to prevent a backlog of titles arriving in the final weeks. To help facilitate the judging we suggest that works can be submitted in advance of true publication date by supplying judges with proofs if available.

  1. Eligibility

A publisher may only submit one title per author per award. Titles may be/have been entered for any other literary award, including the other CWA Daggers. Translated works are also eligible for the Steel and John Creasey Daggers, the key date being that of UK publication and not the original foreign language publication.

    • CWA Gold Dagger: This award is for the best crime novel by an author of any nationality, originally written in English, first published in the UK during the Judging Period. The broadest definition of the crime novel defines eligible books including thrillers, suspense novels and spy fiction.
    • CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: This award is for the best thriller novel first published in the UK during the Judging Period. 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, action/adventure stories and psychological thrillers. Ian Fleming said there was one essential criterion for a good thriller – that ‘one simply has to turn the page’; this is one of the main characteristics that the judges will be looking for.
    • 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. ‘Best crime novel by a first time author’ means that the author must not have had a novel of any sort published before under any name whatsoever. In the case of novels with more than one author, all the authors must meet this requirement. It is up to the publisher to ensure that novels submitted for this award do qualify. Financial penalties to cover time, expenses and reputational damage may be imposed on a publisher whose novel reaches the shortlist when it is ineligible.
    • CWA International Dagger: This award is for crime fiction 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 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. Please select only those titles that are historical – and in which the commission, investigation and solution of a crime is the central theme.
    • CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for NonFiction: This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime related theme by an author of any nationality on condition that 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, crime-fiction literature and critical studies.
    • 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 15,000 words .
    1. Submissions

    An online nomination form must be completed for each title entry submitted and the appropriate processing fee paid. Once the details entered have been checked and the processing payment received, you will be emailed details of where to send the books. For Short Stories which have been broadcast but not published, please contact the Dagger Liaison Officer on Dagger Liaison for information on how to submit.

    • Submission of Electronic Files. It is now a prerequisite of entry that the publisher submit an EFILE version alongside the physical book. Failure to comply may result in the work being excluded for consideration. The EFILE must be in a format that is compatible with all standard eReaders, e.g. Kindle, iPad, Kobo, etc. There can be no expiration date associated with the file. Just as before the judges will sign a confidentiality agreement that states they will not pass the digital edition to anyone. All EFILES iles or widgits must be sent “clean,” i.e. with no sales/promotion/quotes material attached. Watermarked versions are acceptable but not preferred.
    1. Processing fee

    In order to offset some of the Association’s costs, a processing fee will be charged for each submission, and is non-refundable. In 2018/2019 the fee is £50.00 per title (£15.00 per individual short story). A collection of short stories will be £50.00 All processing fees are subject to VAT. On receipt of your nomination an invoice will be generated and emailed to you. This must be paid before you are sent the judges’ details.  It is the publisher’s responsibility to ensure that all payments are received by the CWA in time to clear before March 01 2019. Beyond this date the book could be disqualified.

    1. Delivery of Books

    After the processing fee had been paid you will be sent a PDF file which will provide you with a set of cover sheets containing the judges’ contact details. One copy of each book should be sent to ALL judges including the chair of judges. Please enclose the cover sheet with each book; this will assist the judges identifying the name of the Dagger for which the book is being submitted. Furthermore it would be a great help to the judges if you ensure that the label on each parcel bears the name of the award for which the book is being submitted. Please do not send books to the papers or magazines for which the judge reviews. Please use Royal Mail to deliver books where possible, as it can be hard for judges to rearrange deliveries of missed packages with other couriers.

    1. Terms and Conditions

    It is a condition of entry that publishers:

    •  Will put the CWA logo and “Winner of the CWA [Dagger name]” or “Shortlisted for the CWA [Dagger Name]”, including where appropriate the name (s) of sponsor(s) provided by the Crime Writers’ Association on the cover of subsequent editions of winning/shortlisted books. These are available from the CWA Secretary secretary@thecwa.co.uk. A trademark statement that accompanies the logo must be included on the cover or in the book’s front matter.
    • Will ensure that any shortlisted author, or a nominated representative, attends any CWA Dagger Shortlisting Reception and the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner and will be available for media interviews immediately afterwards and/or on the following morning. Please note that no complimentary tickets will be given to authors or their nominated representative to the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner.
    • Will, on request, provide a cover image, extract and author photograph with the necessary clearances for use on the CWA website and as part of the Dagger-Reads initiative and other marketing materials.

    Submission of any entry will be taken as complete acceptance of these conditions. The CWA will run a campaign promoting the shortlisted titles for all Daggers through social media and other communications. In common with most other similar awards we do not give advance notice to winners.

    The eligibility period for the next judging period will be April 1st 2018- March 30th 2019.

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