The CWA Dagger in the Library, 2008
Winner: Craig Russell

Sponsor: The Random House Group

Prize: £1500

Craig Russell

The Dagger in the Library is an annual award, given to "the author of crime fiction whose work is currently giving the greatest enjoyment to library users". The 2008 winner is Craig Russell. He was presented with his dagger and a cheque for £1500 by Jonathan Gibbs, who chaired the judges.

CJ Sansom was Highly Recommended for the second year in succession.

Authors are nominated by UK libraries and Readers' Groups and judged by a panel of librarians. The award is given for the body of an author's work, not for an individual title, and those nominated must be alive at the time of the nomination and should preferably be working in Britain. The broadest definition of the crime novelist is used; it can include authors of thrillers, suspense novels, spy fiction and period fiction as well as more traditional forms like "cosies", "hard-boiled" and police procedurals.

In choosing Craig Russell, the judges said: ‘This author, highly rated by readers’ groups, deals well with German society and issues which remain sensitive even today. His works provide a persuasive portrayal of German mores, while providing lots of tension and good pace. Fabel’s character is memorable and the style of writing gripping. Russell’s research, plotting, engaging characters and use of setting combine to make the reader want to go back for more.’

Bibliography - the Jan Fabel series:
Eternal - Hutchinson (2007)
Brother Grimm - Hutchinson (2006)
Blood Eagle - Hutchinson (2005)

Craig Russell was born in Fife, Scotland in 1956. His career has included serving as a police officer and working in advertising as a copywriter and creative director. He has a long-standing interest in the German language, culture and post-war German history. Russell has been a freelance writer since 1990 and in 2007 he was awarded the highly prestigious Polizeistern (Police Star) by the Polizei Hamburg. Russell’s best-selling Jan Fabel series of thrillers has been published in twenty languages around the world.


Overall judges’ comments

‘We were pleased to discover new names amongst the more well-known authors, and delighted to see a wealth of new talent emerging in this, the most popular genre in public libraries. Over 65 nominations came in from twenty-five separate sources across the UK, and the shortlist was hotly debated.’

The other authors on the shortlist were:

Elizabeth Corley
Andrew Martin
Denise Mina

CJ Sansom
Chris Simms

The shortlist page has more about these authors and why they were shortlisted.


Jonathan Gibbs (Chair) - IT Librarian for City of London Libraries

Mark Benjamin - Team Librarian with Northumberland County Libraries, based in Hexham

Will Cooban - Senior Librarian, London Borough of Bexley

Karen Fraser - Customer Service Librarian with Shetland Library

Cheney Gardner - Framework for the Future Support Officer at MLA Council, on secondment from Lewisham Libraries

Wendy Molyneux - Community Access Librarian, Warrington Libraries, heritage and Learning

Guest judge:
Stephanie Kenna - Manager, Regional and Library Programmes, The British Library