Emerging Author Dagger
The Emerging Author Dagger (formerly the Debut Dagger) 2024 is now closed.
The Emerging Author Dagger 2025 will open 1 October 2024.
Announcements for the Emerging Author Dagger
- Longlist: This will be announced in mid April – date to be confirmed.
- Shortlist: CrimeFest, Bristol on Friday 10 May, early evening
- Winner: Dagger Awards Dinner, evening of Thursday 4 July, Leonardo City Hotel, LondonAll announcements will also appear on this website shortly afterwards.
About the Emerging Author Dagger
The Emerging Author Dagger opens for entries on 1 October and runs to the last working day in February the following year.
The international competition, open to anyone in the world writing in English, is for a crime novel opening (max. 3,000 words) and synopsis (max. 1,500 words). The crime novel – of any subgenre; including but not limited to thriller, noir, cosy mystery, suspense, police procedural; spy story and crossover of any kind – should be suitable for adults or young adults.
Entries are eligible from writers who have never had a publishing contract for a full-length novel of any kind and who don’t have a literary agent when the competition closes at the end of February. Entrants must not have made this novel or any other piece of their fiction over 20,000 words available on sale to the public within five years of the closing date.
Any enquiries should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsored by ProWritingAid.
The 2024 Judges
Leigh Russell (Chair)
Leigh Russell has sold over a million books in her Geraldine Steel crime series which has been translated into several languages, including Chinese. Leigh has been shortlisted for two CWA Dagger awards, and has twice been a finalist for the People’s Book Prize. She has formerly served on the board of the Crime Writers’ Association, currently co-ordinates their Criminal Critiques service, and chairs the Debut Dagger judges. She is a Royal Literary Fellow.
Katherine is Deputy Publishing Director for crime and thrillers at Simon & Schuster. She has worked in publishing since 2005, first at Faber and Faber and then at Sphere (Little, Brown), before joining Bonnier Zaffre in 2016 and Simon & Schuster in 2021. She is also one of the co-founders of the First Monday crime nights in London.
Rachel Neely began her publishing career in 2016 at HarperCollins, before moving to Hachette where she worked as an editor for the next six years, most recently as a Commissioning Editor. Rachel then made the move from editorial to agenting in early 2022, joining Mushens Entertainment where she is a Literary Agent. Rachel is actively looking to find new crime and thriller writers for her list.
James Wills is Managing Director at literary agency Watson, Little. He is always searching for strong storytelling and new, exciting material. “I’d particularly love to see upmarket crime, thrillers and mysteries and addictive, high-concept stories with incredible hooks that refuse to let go.”
ProWritingAid – Sponsors of the Debut Dagger
ProWritingAid was created by writers, for writers. Our primary goal is to help new writers get their stories and ideas across in the clearest and most effective way possible. We are passionate about language and believe good stories are intrinsically entwined with the words and phrases used to express them. ProWritingAid will never replace a human editor (our software can’t spot your plot holes!) Rather, our software helps you self-edit to a deeper level so that when you send your manuscript off to a human editor, they can focus on the content of your writing and not spend their time fixing basic writing issues like passive voice or emotion tells.
We are thrilled to sponsor the Debut Dagger competition. ProWritingAid’s primary goal is to help more writers get their stories out into the world, and the Debut Dagger is such an amazing opportunity for new crime writers to get their work in front of people that matter.
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