Welcome to the Crime Writers' Association

Alison Joseph, copyright Hugo Glendinning

Photo: © Hugo Glendinning

Best-selling crime writer Alison Joseph, who took over as Chair of the CWA in April 2013, welcomes you to the web site:

The Crime Writers’ Association is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year. That’s sixty years of support, promotion and celebration of this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres.

We continue, of course, to run the prestigious Dagger Awards, which celebrate the best in crime writing. The Gold Dagger is awarded for any novel that is felt to represent the best of the genre. Then there is the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for first novels, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for thrillers, the International Dagger for translated works, the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger for historical mysteries, the Non_Fiction Dagger, the Dagger in the Library – the library readers’ choice – and finally the Short Story Dagger, which acknowledges the best in short fiction.

The Diamond Dagger is awarded for sustained excellence in crime writing and for having made a significant contribution to crime fiction. It is nominated and voted for exclusively by members of the CWA.

For over a decade, the CWA has been encouraging new writing with the Debut Dagger competition. Unpublished writers can enter the competition by submitting the opening chapters and synopsis of a proposed crime novel. The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents, and the short-listed entries are offered to publishers and agents who specialize in the crime genre. Publication isn’t guaranteed, but to date, sixteen winners or short-listed entrants have been published as a result of this award, and some have gone on to win further awards for their work.

Membership of the CWA is open to writers of crime fiction or non-fiction resident in Great Britain who are published by a bona fide publisher, at the discretion of the committee. Overseas members are welcomed. Associate membership is available for editors, agents and booksellers who meet our criteria – it’s always worth checking with the membership secretary.

And a recent innovation is Corporate Membership, which provides a way for publishers, agents and others involved in promoting CWA members’ work to support the organisation and extend many of the benefits of membership to their staff.

These days the competition to achieve a publishing deal is fierce. Always keen to help new authors to get published, the CWA has stepped in and now offers a Manuscript Assessment Service for aspiring crime fiction writers, to help you polish your writing, and prepare your manuscript for submission to agents and publishers.

Want to find out where you can see your favourite author? Check out our Events page. Organising an event? Events organisers may contact individual writers by searching our Members’ web page. If you would like to book a group, or if you have a particular theme in mind, you should take a look at the Speakers’ page. Readers’ and writers’ workshop leaders, festival speakers, conference presenters and knowledgeable literary panellists are all just a click away

Do come back and visit us again for updates of awards, events, members’ new publications and much more.

Alison Joseph is a crime writer and radio dramatist. Her Sister Agnes novels are available as e-books and have also been featured on BBC Radio 4. Her latest novel is a departure from Sister Agnes, a crime story about particle physics.

Alison’s website is