About the Crime Writers’ Association
The Crime Writers’ Association was founded in 1953 by John Creasey. Its overall aim is to support, promote and celebrate this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres. The CWA’s everyday aim is to support every kind of crime writer of both 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 welcomed too. 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 overseas.
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 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
Importantly, the CWA provides a number of platforms for its author members to connect with readers. This is mainly through 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 reader subscribers. In addition the CRA has a dedicated Facebook group, and a Twitter feed – as of course does the CWA.
The prestigious Daggers
The CWA is well known for running the prestigious CWA Daggers, which celebrate the very best in crime writing, awarded every autumn at a glittering ceremony. 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) 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.
Most prestigious of all is the Diamond Dagger, awarded once a year, which goes to a writer nominated by CWA members for their lifetime 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 competition – 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.
To find out more about joining: https://thecwa.co.uk/about-us/membership
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Chair Linda Stratmann
Linda Stratmann was elected Chair of the CWA in April 2019. She has a virtually life-long interest in true crime, and a large collection of books on the subject. She is a qualified chemist’s dispenser, having trained in a very old branch of Boots, just before the shop and the course were modernised. After taking a BSc in Psychology she was an inspector of taxes for 27 years, before leaving to pursue her writing. She has a passionate though not uncritical love of the Victorian period, and probably spends more time in the nineteenth century than the twenty-first.
Linda’s research skills are self-taught and over the years she has become a competent amateur genealogist, and archive user.
Linda writes two fiction series: the Frances Doughty Mysteries set in 1880s Bayswater, with a lady pharmacist as detective protagonist, and the latest series, set in 1870s Brighton, featuring Mina Scarletti, a diminutive lady with a twisted spine whose boldness and confidence help her to exposes the activities of fraudulent spirit mediums.
Linda has given many public talks on true crimes. She has been a guest panellist at CrimeFest in Bristol since 2011, has been a guest on radio shows and appeared in two television documentaries on the history of anaesthesia and two editions of the Fred Dinenage Murder Casebook.
Linda gives public talks on true crimes, has been a guest on radio shows and appeared in television documentaries. Linda has also written several non-fiction titles. She was Vice Chair from 2017 to 2019, has had two stints as Membership Secretary and has served on the CWA committee for ten years. She entered her second year as Chair in 2020.
Jean was elected as the CWA’s Vice Chair in April 2019 and re-elected in 2020. Under the name J C Briggs, Jean is the author of a series of crime novels featuring Charles Dickens as hero, now published by Sapere Books, and has recently proved her excellent organisation skills and dedication to the CWA with her organisation of the 2019 conference at Bowness-on-Windermere. Jean was formerly a senior teacher at a renowned school on the Fylde Coast and lives in the Yorkshire Dales.
Matthew Booth s the author of When Anthony Rathe Investigates, a two volume short story collection, which began as a radio series on the Imagination Radio syndicate in America. He is also the author of a collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries called Sherlock Holmes and the Giant’s Hand. He has contributed a number of Sherlock Holmes stories to several anthologies, including stories for Wordsworth Classics Supernatural and Thriller series. One of the convenors of the CWA’s Northern Chapter, Matthew took over as the editor of Red Herrings, the monthly in-house publication of the Crime Writers’ Association, with the April 2020 issue. The previous editor, David Stuart Davies, was in the post for 20 years so Matthew perhaps has long stint ahead of him!
Adrian Muller was born in Canada, and was raised and educated in the Netherlands. After obtaining a degree in Arts Administration from the Reinwardt Academy for Museology, he moved to Bristol in the United Kingdom. Adrian has been an Events Organiser and Freelance Journalist (contributing to award winning books on crime fiction); the Events Manager for the Crime in Store bookshop; in 1997 he helped organise the St. Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Weekend; and the following year he co-founded Dead on Deansgate. Adrian was one of the originators of, and contributors to, the four ‘Masters of Crime’ supplements published by The Times. In 2005 he helped found the International Thriller Writers association, and in 2006 Adrian co-hosted Left Coast Crime 16 in Bristol, England. A member of the CWA, he has served on the committee twice and he has also been the Chairman of the judges for the International Dagger for Translated Crime Fiction. Following the success of Left Coast Crime 16 Adrian and Myles Allfrey founded CRIMEFEST, an international crime fiction convention held annually in Bristol.
Maxim Jakubowski, Honorary Vice-chair, 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 16 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.
Dea Parkin has been an associate member of the CWA since 2012 through her editorial consultancy Fiction Feedback, which specialises in critiquing and editing crime and historical fiction. Sometimes, gloriously, both together. She became Secretary of the CWA in 2016 and very much enjoys her work on the committee and liaising with CWA members. She might not write crime fiction, but she reads as much as her workload allows, which is always more than she fears and less than she hopes.
Sarah Ward is our membership secretary and is the author of four DC Childs novels, In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw, A Patient Fury and The Shrouded Path set in the Derbyshire Peak District where she lives. On her blog, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. Sarah was a 2015 Amazon Rising Star and A Patient Fury was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month in 2017. Sarah has a new series out written under the name Rhiannon Ward; look out for The Quickening.
Treasurer Andrew Subramaniam is a partner in HW Fisher & Company’s media group. As well as advising numerous authors and journalists, he has a vast knowledge in looking after entertainers, actors, broadcasters, producers, musicians and TV celebrities amongst others on accounting and tax issues.
Andrew has a strong interest in writing and is a patron of the Henley Literary Festival as well as sponsoring the Harrogate Crimewriting Festival. Andrew also sits on the board of the Musical Theatre Network as well as that of the Actors Centre.
Outside work, Andrew enjoys watching and playing both football and cricket. He also sits on a fundraising committee at his children’s school which has raised funds for a new school building and is the CWA’s Honorary Treasurer.
Priscilla Masters, one of our Library Champions, was born in Halifax and adopted into a multi-racial family of seven. She has produced more than thirty crime novels and one children’s book. She trained as a registered nurse in the 1970s at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham. Her first novel to feature DI Joanna Piercy, Winding Up the Serpent, was published in 1995 by Pan Macmillan. She has followed this with a further thirteen titles in the series. In 2004 she created Coroner Martha Gunn, a series set in the medieval town of Shrewsbury and in 2017 revived a previous character, Dr Claire Roget, a forensic psychiatrist. She has also written medical standalone mysteries and is currently published by Severn House, Lume Books and Telos Publishing. She retired in 2014 from her work as a respiratory specialist nurse in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. She has two sons, two grandsons and lives in a fairy-tale cottage on the Staffordshire/Shropshire border. Cilla’s fellow Library Champion is John Dean .
Other committee members include Dagger Liaison Officer Mike Stotter, Corinne Turner, Chris Simms (editor of Case Files), Criminal Critiques co-ordinator Leigh Russell, Booksellers' Champion Aline Templeton, Ricki Thomas, Stephen Hayes, former membership secretary Chrissie Poulson, blogger and reviewer Ayo Onatade and CWA social media lead Antony Johnston.
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.
We have represented crime authors since 1953 and launched the careers of many writers though our Dagger awards and writing initiatives.
Members of the CWA come from all areas of the genre and we have categorised them by sub-genre to help you find the member you are looking for.
The Dagger Awards have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over fifty years.
These prestigious awards 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.