The Crime Writers’ Association

The Board

The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales (no. 3495776). It’s a non-campaigning, non-sectarian body.

Our primary objective is to promote the prestige and appreciation of crime writing; to enable the members of the Association to acquire and exchange expertise and information and to meet for professional and social events, as well as providing a platform to help members engage with readers and promote their books.

The CWA is overseen by a voluntary board. This comprises the Chair and Vice Chairs, other officers and elected members drawn from the broader membership. Members are nominated and then elected at properly constituted annual general meetings and stand for three years. After three years, they may step down or stand for re-election for one more three-year term.

In addition we have four sub-committees, comprising mainly Board members, which carry out the day-to-day work in four areas: Membership; Daggers; Events & Communications; and Finance & Resources. The General Coordinator keeps everyone informed.

Everyone can be contacted via the Inbox Secretary, Vicki Goldie, on

CWA officers

The Crime Writers’ Association is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales (no. 3495776). The officers – drawn from the Board – have no financial interest in the company, being members of the Association.

Vaseem Khan – Chair
Vaseem Khan is the author of two award-winning crime series set in India. His debut, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was selected by the Sunday Times as one of the 40 best crime novels published 2015-2020. In 2021, Midnight at Malabar House, the first in the Malabar House novels set in 1950s Bombay, won the Crime Writers’ Association Historical Dagger. Vaseem was born in England, but spent a decade working in India. Vaseem co-hosts the popular crime fiction podcast, the Red Hot Chilli Writers. His website is Vaseem was elected to the Board in 2020 and was Joint Vice Chair from 2022. Chair of the Events and Communications Subcommittee, he was elected as CWA Chair in May 2023.

Sarah Ward – Vice Chair

Sarah Ward is the author of four DC Childs novels set in the Derbyshire Peak District where she lives. Her third novel in the series, A Patient Fury, was an Observer Book of the Month. Sarah also writes Gothic historical thrillers under the name Rhiannon Ward. Her first, The Quickening, was a 2020 Radio Times book of the year and her second historical novel The Shadowing was a Daily Express critic’s favourite of the year. She has also written Doctor Who audio dramas. Sarah is a Board member of the Derby Book Festival and Friends of Buxton International Festival. She is also Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Sheffield University. Sarah was Membership Secretary 2018-2021 and a Board member from September 2021. She was elected by the Board to be Joint Vice Chair from 2023.

William Shaw – Vice Chair

William Shaw is the author of eleven crime books, has been shortlisted for the CWA’s Gold Dagger, the Endeavour Historical Dagger and the Barry Award and long listed three times for the Theakston’s Prize. Before turning to crime, he has also been an award-winning music journalist and non-fiction author. William also writes as GW Shaw. William was elected to the Board in 2020 and elected by the Board as Joint Vice Chair from 2023.

Heather Fitt – General Coordinator

Heather Fitt is the author of three crime novels. She joined the CWA Board as General Coordinator in 2023. Originally from Scotland, Heather now lives on the south coast of Hampshire with her husband, Stuart. When she left the rat race in 2018, Heather retrained and entered the world of publishing. These days, when she’s not writing novels, Heather works as a freelance editor, proofreader and blog tour organiser. She has also worked with Bloodhound Books as a commissioning advisor.

You can follow Heather across most social media channels under, HeatherJFitt. For CWA business you can email her via,

Andrew Subramaniam – Treasurer

Andrew is a partner at accountancy firm HW Fisher LLP, specialising in advising authors (in particular of crime!), journalists, entertainers, musicians, actors and broadcasters amongst others. He is a keen supporter and patron of the Henley Literary Festival and also sits on the committee of the Seven Dials Playhouse overseeing its finance function. Andrew has been Treasurer since 2015.

Jess Faraday – Membership Coordinator
Jess trained as a linguist and worked as an educator, lexicographer, and Russian translator
before selling her first story, a high fantasy murder mystery, to a teeny, tiny, now-defunct ’zine. She now writes historical mystery and suspense, sometimes with supernatural elements, and sometimes without. Her work has won or been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Rainbow Award,the Lambda Literary Award, and the Golden Crown Literary Society Award. As well as a Board member of CWA, Jess is a member of the Society of Authors, the Historical Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. Jess joined the Board as Membership Coordinator in September 2021.

Jess is currently the Communications Manager for the CWA, and chairs the Membership Subcommittee. She can be reached at or


Elected Board Members

Jean Briggs – Board Member

Jean Briggs was elected as the CWA’s Vice Chair in April 2019 and served until 2022 – the longest ever consecutive period served by a Vice Chair. In May 2022 she was elected to the Board for her second term, with particular responsibility for the Annual Conference and for bursaries.

Jean writes the Dickens and Jones mysteries, featuring Charles Dickens as an amateur
detective working with Superintendent Jones of Bow Street. The ninth in the series, Summons to
Murder, was published in December 2021 by Sapere Books. Number ten will be out in 2023.
Jean was formerly an English teacher in Cheshire, Hong Kong and lastly, Lancashire. Jean was elected to the Board in 2018 and was Joint Vice Chair 2019-2022. She was re-elected to the Board in 2022.

Victoria Dowd – Board Member

Victoria is the award-winning author of the bestselling Smart Woman’s Mystery series. Her
debut novel, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Murder, won The People’s Book Prize for fiction 2021 and was named In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel’s Book of the Year 2020. Victoria was awarded the Gothic Fiction prize for her short fiction and is also the author of the Adapting Agatha series. Originally from Yorkshire, she was a criminal defence barrister for many years and is now coconvenor of the London chapter of the CWA. Victoria was elected to the Board in 2022.

Fiona Veitch Smith – Board Member (Co-Opt)

Fiona has been a member of the CWA since 2016 when her debut crime novel, The Jazz Files, was shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger. Fiona went on to write a six-book series starring reporter sleuth Poppy Denby. Her latest series, The Miss Clara Vale Mysteries, is published by Embla Books (Bonnier UK). Fiona has managed a travelling theatre company and was the communications officer for a national arts festival in South Africa. She has worked as a journalist and sub-editor on newspapers and magazines, in South Africa and the UK, then spent over a decade lecturing journalism at Newcastle University, in parallel with being a visiting lecturer in creative and dramatic writing at Northumbria University.
In 2019 she took up the positions of Assistant Secretary to the CWA, supporting Dea Parkin, and Deputy Editor of Red Herrings. In December 2022 she moved to the role of Communications Manager, overseeing all the CWA’s communications output.  A casual member of the Board since December 2022, she was elected as a co-opted member with particular responsibility for communications in May 2023.

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin – Board Member
Vanessa writes crime as Sam Blake and is the No 1 bestselling author of the Cat Connolly Garda police trilogy (Bonnier), and standalones Keep Your Eyes on Me and The Dark Room (Corvus Books). Vanessa is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for more years than she lived in the UK. The founder of the multi award winning writing resources website, The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and of Murder One, Ireland’s International Crime Writing Festival, Vanessa is a board member of the Society of Authors, and a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Vanessa conceived and developed the National Emerging Writer Programme for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Date with an Agent in association with the International Literature Festival Dublin, and was the host of Writers Web TV. Having developed a range of initiatives in the writing world, she is a champion for emerging writers and is Ireland’s leading literary scout, working with agents and publishers both in the UK and Ireland. Vanessa joined the Board in 2021 and takes a dynamic lead in organising National Crime Reading Month.

Ayo Onatade – Board Member (Co-Opt)
Ayo is a freelance commentator on crime fiction. She writes articles, gives papers, takes
part and moderates panels on all aspects of the crime and mystery genre. She blogs at Shotsmag Confidential and writes articles for Shotsmag and Crimespree Magazine. She is Chair of judges for the CWA Short Story Dagger and has been a judge for the Ngaio Marsh Award (New Zealand crime writers’ award). She is co-editor of the anthology Bodies in the Bookshop and also a visiting lecturer at Kingston University on their MA in Publishing course. Ayo was a contributor to British Crime Writing: An Encyclopaedia (edited by Barry Forshaw) and The Legal Thriller in Context in: Hoppenstand, G, ed. The American Thriller (Critical Insights), Salem Press: Harvard, pp 18-33. She is currently a judge for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and a Theakston Crime Novel of the Year Academy voting member. In 2018 she was awarded the CWA Red Herring award. An Associate member, Ayo was first co-opted to the Board in 2019 and was elected again in 2023.

Graham Bartlett – Board Member

Graham was a police officer for thirty years retiring in 2013 as Brighton and Hove’s Chief Superintendent and police commander. He’s had two non-fiction books published by Pan Macmillan – the best-seller Death Comes Knocking (2016) and Babes in the Wood (2020) – both written with Peter James. His debut novel, Bad for Good was published by Allison and Busby in June 2022 with the second in the series coming out in 2023. Graham is also a police procedural and crime advisor, working directly with scores of authors and TV writers to achieve authenticity in their writing and drama. Additionally, he runs online crime-writing workshops and courses with the Professional Writing Academy and delivers inputs to Masters programmes at the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia as well as at the Crime Writing Certificate programme at West Dean College. Graham was elected to the Board in 2022 and is Chair of the Finance & Resources Subcommittee.

Stella Oni – Board Member

Stella is a British Nigerian writer is the author of debut police procedural, Deadly Sacrifice, featuring detective Toks Ade. The book was shortlisted for the SI Leeds Literary Prize and was an Audible Crime and Thriller pick. Stella contributed to the anthology Midnight Hour, which features the work of 20 authors from the Crime Writers of Color group. In 2022, Stella was a runner-up for the inaugural CrimeFest bursary for writers of color. She is currently working on Book Two of the Toks Ade Mystery series, as well as the first book in The London House Mystery series. Stella has a background in information systems and technology. She worked as a business intelligence analyst for Greenwich Leisure Ltd, the biggest operator of sports and leisure in the UK, and specialises in customer membership and usage. Stella was elected to the Board in 2023.

Nadine Matheson – Board Member

Nadine was born and lives in London, is a criminal solicitor and the host of ‘The Conversation Podcast’. Nadine is also the winner of the City University Crime Writing Competition. Her debut crime novel, the bestselling The Jigsaw Man has been translated into 15 languages and was loved by readers around the world. The Binding Room is Nadine’s second novel featuring DI Henley and the Serial Crime Unit. The third novel in the series, The Kill List, is published in 2023. Nadine was elected to the Board in 2023.

Morgen Witzel – Board Member

Morgen has been a member of several charity boards going back over a period of 12-13 years, and is currently a trustee of Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs the library service in Devon and Torbay (54 libraries, 230+ staff and volunteers). In his non-crime writing life he has also worked with teams doing research into governance at Henley Business School, London Business School and the Institute of Directors, and he teaches governance at the University of Exeter. One way and another, he has a fair amount of professional experience. Morgen has also been a professional writer for most of the last four decades, half of the author duo AJ MacKenzie with his wife Marilyn Livingstone, and so is familiar with the writer’s life and its challenges. Morgen was elected to the Board in 2023.


Ex-officio Members

Matthew Booth – Editor of Red Herrings

is the author of Sherlock Holmes and the Giant’s Hand, published by Breese Books and the co-author of The Further Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of new stories commissioned by Sparkling Books in 2016. He contributed two original Holmes stories to The Game is Afoot, a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories published in 2008 by Wordsworth Editions. Matthew is the creator of Anthony Rathe, a disgraced former barrister seeking redemption by solving those crimes which come his way. The character first appeared in a series of radio plays produced and syndicated by Imagination Theatre in America. Rathe now appears in When Anthony Rathe Investigates published by Sparkling Books. Matthew is also the author of the Everett Carr mysteries, a new murder mystery series set in the 1930s, published by Level Best Books. A lifelong devotee of crime and supernatural fiction, Matthew has provided a number of academic talks on such subjects as Sherlock Holmes, the works of Agatha Christie, crime fiction, Count Dracula, and the facts and theories concerning the crimes of Jack the Ripper. He became editor of Red Herrings in spring 2020 and is an ex-officio member of the Committee.

Dea Parkin – Competitions Coordinator
Dea joined the CWA as an Associate member in 2012, four years after founding Fiction Feedback, an editorial consultancy specialising in crime and historical fiction. Her company has edited books for authors and publishers, and her own speciality is copy-editing. Dea also runs the Crafting Crime online writing course with Martin Edwards. She is Competitions Coordinator for the CWA Debut Dagger and the Margery Allingham Short Mystery prize, and an occasional judge for other writing competitions. She speaks to writing groups and has enjoyed success with short stories in competitions and in the CWA anthology Music of the Night. She has published a volume of accessible poetry called Any Other Business. Dea became Acting Director of the CWA in February 2016 and was Secretary from June 2016; retitled General Coordinator in November 2022.

Contact her at


Chris Simms – Editor of Case Files
Chris has been editing the bimonthly ezine which goes to our 11,500 CRA subscribers for many years, between working as a copywriter and of course a crime fiction author. His series of DI Spicer novels – psychological thrillers set very firmly in Manchester – follow the police detective’s fortunes as he pursues mad, bad and deadly individuals through the city’s ever-changing landscape. More recently, he has launched a new series featuring DC Sean Blake – an inexperienced young detective fighting to establish himself in the close-knit Serious Crimes Unit of Manchester’s police.

Mike Stotter – Daggers Liaison Organiser
Mike has been DLO for as long as most of us can remember. He supervises the CWA Dagger nominations every year and undertakes the considerable admin related to liaising with nominating publishers as well as the independent panels of judges. Mike oversees the Gold Dagger, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, the ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Historical Dagger, the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction, the Short Story Dagger, the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger sponsored in honour of Dolores Jakubowski, and the sub-committee that judges the Publishers’ Dagger.

Maxim Jakubowski – Former Chair (ex-officio)

Maxim Jakubowski was the Chair of the CWA from 2020 – 2023. He remains on the Board in an advisory capacity for 12 months. He was born in London but educated in France. Following an editorial career in book publishing, during which time, he launched two crime imprints Black Box Thrillers and Blue Murder, he opened the Murder One bookstore in London, which lasted for 20 years. He now writes and edits full-time. He has compiled over 120 anthologies including the Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Pulp Fiction, Vintage Crime, Future Cops and London, Paris, Rome and Venice Noir. He won the Anthony award for non-fiction for 100 Great Detectives. He is the author of 18 novels, some of which are in the mystery field together with others in different areas, several of which have made the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller list. A director of London’s Crime Scene festival, he was also the co-chair of the Nottingham Bouchercon and is a regular broadcaster on matters literary on TV and radio, and a frequent attendant at crime festivals in the UK and overseas.

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