Crime Writers' Association

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The Crime Writers' Association
Formation 1953
Headquarters Colchester
Official language
L C Tyler
Key people
Martin Edwards, Dea Parkin, Lisa Dalton

The Crime Writers' Association (CWA) is a writers' association in the United Kingdom. It was founded by John Creasey in 1953. It is chaired by L C Tyler and has almost 700 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), with associate membership also offered to those in the publishing industry and provisional membership to writers who have a contract with a publisher but whose book is not yet published. It enables writers to contact each other, promotes crime writing with annual awards, and organises social events. It also supports writing groups, festivals and literary events through its authors. The main aims of the CWA are to promote the crime genre and to support professional writers. The CWA has been providing social and professional support for its members for more than half a century, as well as running the prestigious Dagger Awards.

The Secretary of the Crime Writers Association is Dea Parkin, who also runs editorial consultancy Fiction Feedback. The management of the organisation is by CJAM of Colchester.


The Crime Writers’ Association Daggers awards were started in 1955, less than two years after the association was founded, with the award of a Crossed Red Herring Award to Winston Graham for The Little Walls.

Over the years the number of CWA Daggers has increased (and occasionally decreased). Ten Daggers are now awarded annually by the CWA.

Other Daggers[edit]

  • The CWA International Dagger, for the best crime novel translated into English. (Known as the Duncan Lawrie International Dagger from 2006 to 2008.)
  • The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: awarded for the best adventure/thriller novel in the vein of James Bond. Sponsored by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
  • The CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction: awarded to the best crime novel of the year. Sponsored by Goldsboro Books.
  • The CWA New Blood Dagger: Awarded in memory of CWA founder John Creasey, this dagger for first books by previously unpublished writers. This award used to be known as the John Creasy Memorial Dagger.
  • The CWA Dagger in the Library: This Dagger 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 CWA Historical Dagger: Previously known as the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, awarded to historical mysteries since 1999. From 2014 this award has been sponsored by Endeavour Press.
  • The CWA Short Story Dagger: This competition is open to 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.
  • CWA Diamond Dagger: an award for lifetime achievement.

In 2015 the CWA launched Dagger Reads a new initiative to support and promote the shortlisted titles for the Daggers.


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. Original Sins is the 2010 anthology of crime from a distinguished selection of British writers published by Severn House. In 2013 the CWA Anthology 'Deadly Pleasures' was published and in 2015 an anthology of True Crime stories was released.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]