The Crime Writers’ Association

Dagger in the Library 

The Dagger in the Library 2024 is now open.


New two-stage process where borrowers can nominate

This year, we want UK and Irish libraries – and their users – to propose names of crime writers to be listed for the award, before we get to the voting stage.

So this autumn is the time for library staff and volunteers, and through them their library users, to let us know the crime writers whose works they stock and who are based most of the year in the UK or the Republic of Ireland who they would like to nominate for the Dagger in the Library 2024.

Please forward us the names of crime writers that either you think should be in the running, or that your borrowers have suggested to you, by emailing You can send as many names as you like and as many times as you like before 15 December 2023.

In your email, please provide your name, the name and location of your library and if appropriate the name of the borrower(s) who submitted their choice of contender. NB We will only contact you in connection with the Dagger in the Library.

We’ll check the names meet our new eligibility criteria (less onerous than previously) and add them to the list that we’ll be asking library personnel to vote on in January and February 2024. So this year, Dagger in the Library is a two-stage process, but as ever it’s libraries themselves who get the final vote on who should win.

Please do canvass your borrowers now about which established crime writers (fiction or non-fiction) they’d like to win. There’s a poster about the award (in colour and black and white) you might wish to print out and use.

Keep a record of which borrower voted for which authors, because one lucky borrower stands to win a prize!

On social media, use the hashtag #DaggerintheLibrary to tell people your library is putting the names of crime writers forward for this prestigious award.

We’re looking for crime writers whose words have given the most pleasure to library users over the last year – and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve been enjoyed in print, in ebook or in audio, or in the English or Welsh language.

All libraries, public or independent, throughout the UK and in the Republic of Ireland are invited to nominate and vote for the CWA Dagger in the Library.


Dagger in the Library 2024 criteria

For the winner, we are looking for a crime writer of fiction or non-fiction who has brought most pleasure to UK and Irish library users over a significant time, and who has actively supported libraries.




The Judges

Ian Anstice (Chair)
Ian Anstice is a Locality Librarian for Cheshire West and Chester Council and has worked for the same service of 26 years. However, he is more widely known outside of that service as being the editor of Public Libraries News. He is a keen walker of schnauzers but promises us he does fit in the time to read the occasional book as well.

Marleen Kennedy
Marleen Kennedy can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode. Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish countryside she counts herself lucky to have worked as a branch librarian for the Cavan County Council Library Service for the past ten years. Marleen also writes romances under the name Helena Stone.

Donna Duff

Donna was aged 4 when she decided she was going to be a librarian and has been working in libraries for 35 years. She has worked in public and specialist libraries, and for the past 13 years she has been working for East Lothian Council Library Services as Senior Librarian for Digital and Adult Services.

East Lothian has had the pleasure of holding many events which welcomed crime writers from across the UK and beyond, not only within the libraries but also as part of the Fringe by the Sea Festival.

Donna’s family are seriously considering staging an intervention due her continued book buying which she can’t seem to resist despite her extensive borrowing from the library service.

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