The Crime Writers’ Association

About the CWA

The Crime Writers’ Association was founded in 1953 by John Creasey (pictured). Our overall aim is to support, promote and celebrate this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres. The CWA’s everyday aim is to support writers of every kind of crime fiction and non-fiction and to promote their work.

The CWA is a thriving, growing community and a broad church. Its membership encompasses writers of all kinds of ‘crime’ – embracing procedural, psychological, all types of thriller, cosy, noir and even supernatural and fantasy cross-over. Writers of all crime-related non-fiction, including true crime, are welcome too. Writers of crime for children and young adults are also welcome to join as are authors of crime novels on graphic platforms.

CWA authors are of all ages and at all stages of their careers, from young debuts to established veterans, and while the CWA is UK-based, it attracts many members from all over the world.

In addition to authors, the CWA has associate and corporate members drawn from literary agents, publishers, reviewers, bloggers and editors who specialise in crime fiction and non-fiction.


Friendships and networks

The CWA encourages a sense of belonging with members-only benefits such as: a monthly magazine called Red Herrings; Find an Author/Book web pages with information dedicated to individual members; online resources and promotional support; and a members’ Facebook group. Members can make contact to draw on each other’s expertise to help with their work and Chapters throughout the country welcome members to formal and informal gatherings. An annual conference, parties and other CWA events allow friendships to be made, and social as well as professional networks to be established and developed.


Connecting with readers

The CWA provides a number of platforms for its author members to connect with readers. This is mainly via its sister organisation the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA), with its website and the CRA Newsletter, a digital monthly missive showcasing CWA authors and their books and events, and Case Files, a bimonthly ezine highlighting new publications from CWA members. Both communications go to around 11,500 subscribers. In addition, the CRA has a dedicated Facebook group.


The prestigious Daggers

The CWA is well known for running the prestigious CWA Daggers, which celebrate the very best in crime writing. Publishers nominate their authors’ books, and titles are independently judged by panels separate to the CWA. Daggers are awarded for books in historical, thriller, translated, debut, best of year (Gold) in fiction and non-fiction categories and there’s a short story Dagger too.

The Dagger in the Library rewards authors whose work is most appreciated by users of British libraries, while the Publishers’ Dagger rewards those publishers who serve their crime writers best. Then there’s the Debut Dagger – a competition for uncontracted authors for the opening of a crime novel. Shortlisted authors often go on to get representation and publication.

Most prestigious of all is the Diamond Dagger, awarded once a year, which goes to a living writer nominated by CWA members for their significant contribution to the genre.


Encouraging new writers

The CWA also supports the Debuts: writers as yet without a publishing contract, many of whom enter the Debut Dagger competition and the CWA/Margery Allingham Short Mystery – this is also open to published writers. There are dedicated pages for the Debuts on the CWA website, items about writing courses and competitions in the CRA Newsletter, and a private Debuts Facebook group.


A world of crime writing

Every few years, the CWA produces a short story anthology to which members are invited to contribute. The CWA has links with various festivals and diverse writers’ organisations such as the Society of Authors, and supports libraries and booksellers, with two Library Champions and a Booksellers Champion. Every year, the CWA’s initiative National Crime Reading Month encourages, promotes and publicises the participation of author members in events across libraries, bookshops and festivals, or online via the CWA’s websites and YouTube platforms.


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