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.
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.
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 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.
Jean Briggs, Joint Vice Chair
Jean was elected as the CWA’s Vice Chair in April 2019 and re-elected in 2020 and 2021. Under the name J C Briggs, Jean is the author of a series of crime novels featuring Charles Dickens as an amateur detective working with Superintendent Jones of Bow Street. The seventh and eighth in the series, The Mystery of the Hawke Sapphires and The Chinese Puzzle were published in January and February 2021 by Sapere Books.
Jean 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, after teaching for many years in Hong Kong, and lives in the Yorkshire Dales.
Matthew Booth, Editor of Red Herrings
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 a long stint ahead of him!
Antony Johnston, Joint Vice Chair
Antony Johnston is best known for the Cold War movie Atomic Blonde, which is based on his graphic novel. A former magazine designer with a lifelong interest in technology, he was one of the first generation of authors to build his career online, and spent almost two decades alternating between sci-fi novellas, graphic novels, and videogames. During this time he wrote famous Marvel superheroes, award-winning blockbuster games, and bestselling adaptations of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider teen spy thrillers. He now writes the Brigitte Sharp cyber-espionage thrillers while continuing to work in videogames, film, and sci-fi. He led the 2019 relaunch of the CWA’s social media outlets, and continues to run the CWA & CRA Twitter accounts. He was elected Joint Vice Chair in 2021.
Dea Parkin, Secretary
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. Her own speciality is as a copy-editor. Dea became Secretary of the CWA in 2016 and very much enjoys her work on the committee, liaising with CWA members and editing the CRA website and monthly CRA Newsletter, as well as overseeing the Debut Dagger, the Dagger in the Library and the Margery Allingham Short Mystery competitions. She writes a little, never as much as she’d like, and reads a lot, mainly crime fiction. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org. Dea is ably assisted in her role by crime writer Fiona Veitch Smith.
Sarah Ward, Membership Secretary
Sarah Ward has been our membership secretary since late 2018 and 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. Sarah was a 2015 Amazon Rising Star and A Patient Fury was The Observer’s Thriller of the Month in 2017. Her Gothic historical thriller, The Quickening, was published under the name Rhiannon Ward in 2020 to great acclaim.
Christine Poulson, Board member
Before Christine turned to crime, she was a respectable academic with a PhD in History of Art. Cambridge provided the setting for her first three novels, Dead Letters, Stage Fright, and Footfall, which were followed by a stand-alone suspense novel, Invisible. Deep Water, the first in a series of medical thrillers, appeared in 2016, Cold Cold Heart in 2017, and An Air That Kills in 2019. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger and for the Margery Allingham Prize. She writes a blog, ‘A Reading Life’, at www.christinepoulson.co.uk. She served as Membership Secretary 2010-2012 and 2017-2018 and has served as a Board member since 2019.
Andrew Subramaniam, Treasurer
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 of looking after entertainers, actors, broadcasters, producers, musicians and TV celebrities amongst others on accounting and tax issues.
He is a keen supporter and patron of the Henley Literary Festival and also sits on the Committee of the Actors Centre overseeing its finance function.
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.
Priscilla Masters, Board member and Library Champion
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. Cilla’s fellow Library Champion is John Dean .
Ayo Onatade, Board member
Ayo Onatade 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 also currently the Chair of the HWA Debut Crown. In 2018 she was awarded a CWA Red Herring.
Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin, Board member
Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin 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 Writing.ie, 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 was elected to the Board in 2021.
Mike Stotter, Daggers Liaison Officer
Mike has been Dagger Liaison Officer 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 John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Sapere Books Historical Dagger, the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction, the Short Story Dagger, the Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger and the sub-committee that judges the Publishers’ Dagger.
Simon Michael, Board member
Simon Michael has been a barrister since 1978. He first published crime fiction here (Grafton Books and WH Allen) and in the US (St Martin’s Press) in the 1980s. In the early 1990s he gave up writing to concentrate on what was becoming an extremely demanding but successful Legal 500 career. He retired early from active practice in 2016 to resume writing. Since then Sapere Books have published six books in his Charles Holborne 1960s gangland series based upon his ex-con ex-boxer East End barrister and his complex relationship with the Kray twins. The seventh is due out later this year and he is presently wrestling with the eighth. His legal skills, the experience he garnered establishing and running a regional charity, and his powers of persuasion are of assistance to the CWA and its members.Elected 2021.
Corinne Turner, Board member
An accountant by training and book lover by choice, Corinne has worked in the publishing and intellectual property world for far longer than she cares to admit. She brings considerable experience from her role as Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Limited, the Fleming family company that owns and manages the literary IP in Ian Fleming’s novels, and her previous position as Chief Executive of Booker Entertainment, which owned literary estates, including Agatha Christie, Robert Bolt and Georgette Heyer, and live action and animated film production companies. She also owns and manages the literary estate of Canadian-born children’s author Willard Price and helps living authors with their literary legacy planning, offering literary executor services if required.
Vaseem Khan, Board member
Vaseem Khan is the author of two crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency novels, and the Malabar House historical crime series. His first book, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, was a Times bestseller, now translated into 15 languages. Vaseem was born in London, but spent a decade in India as a management consultant. In 2018, he was awarded the Eastern Eye ACTA (Arts, Culture and Theatre Award) for Literature. Since 2006 he has worked at University College London’s Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science.
William Shaw, Board member
William Shaw is the author of eight crime books, has been shortlisted for the CWA’s Endeavour Historical Dagger and the Barry Award and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and twice for the Theakston’s Prize. Before turning to crime, he has also been an award-winning music journalist and non-fiction author. Until Covid-19, he co-ran the crime fiction event The Brighton Crime Wave and has programmed many multi-author events around the country.
Chris Simms, Editor of Case Files
Chris has been editing the bimonthly ezine which goes to our 11,500 CRA susbcribers 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.