The Crime Writers Association
is a writers' association in the United Kingdom
. Founded by John Creasey
in 1953, it is currently chaired by Robert Richardson and claims 450 members.
Membership is open to any author who has had one crime novel produced by a bona fide publisher (or at the discretion of the committee), and it enables writers to contact each other and organises social events. It also supports writing groups, festivals and literary events with authors.
It is probably best-known however for the prestigious prizes that it awards (known as Daggers
From 1955 to 1959 it awarded the Crossed Red Herring Award for the best crime novel of the year, after which the award was renamed the Gold Dagger. Now known as The Duncan Lawrie Dagger, the prize carries a prize of £20,000, the largest award for crime fiction in the world.
Other Daggers include:
- Duncan Lawrie International Dagger, for the best crime novel translated into English, with £5000 going to the author and £1000 to the translator.
- The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: The dagger and £2000 prize are awarded for the best adventure/thriller novel in the vein of James Bond. Sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
- The CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction: The dagger and prize of £2000 are awarded every even-numbered year.
- The CWA New Blood Dagger: Awarded in memory of CWA founder John Creasey, this dagger for first books by previously unpublished writers is sponsored by BBC Audiobooks and carries a prize of £1000. This award was previously known as the John Creasy Memorial Dagger.
- The CWA Dagger in the Library: This Dagger, sponsored by Random House and worth £1500, is awarded to "the author of crime fiction whose work is currently giving the greatest enjoyment to readers"; authors are nominated by UK libraries and Readers' Groups and judged by a panel of librarians.
- The Debut Dagger: sponsored by Orion, and open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. The winner will receive a £500 cash prize plus a night for two at the Waldorf Hilton, London for the prize-giving at the Dagger Awards Dinner on 29 June. All these shortlisted entrants will receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries, and will also be invited to the Dagger Awards Dinner. This year the chair of the judging panel is crime novelist Margaret Murphy.
- Cartier Diamond Dagger: an award for lifetime achievement, most recently to Sue Grafton.
- The Ellis Peters Historical Award: sponsored by the estate of Ellis Peters and her publishers, Headline and the Time Warner Book Group, carries a prize of £3000.
- The CWA Short Story Award: this prize of £1500, is sponsored by the membership of the CWA.
The CWA has produced many collections of crime writing (mainly fiction, but occasionally including true crime). The editor of the CWA anthology since 1996 has been Martin Edwards. In 2003 he edited a special collection, Mysterious Pleasures, to celebrate the CWA's Golden Jubilee.