The Crime Writers’ Association

Diamond Dagger

The most prestigious Dagger of all, the Diamond Dagger awards a lifetime contribution to crime writing in the English language, and is nominated by CWA members.

Nominations and Judging Process

The CWA Diamond Dagger winner is selected via the following process:

Step 1- Each year (generally in August) the CWA membership is emailed and asked to nominate candidates to receive the Diamond Dagger.

Step 2 – These nominations are passed to a specialist panel of experienced reviewers, acknowledged experts, and industry professionals that includes professional crime fiction reviewers. The panel decides on the three or four candidates to go forward to a shortlist.

Step 3 – As of 2023, the final winner will be decided by a vote by a group of approximately 15 past Diamond Dagger winners, who will be given the shortlist drawn up by the panel in Step 2.

Our hope is that by using the above process the Diamond Dagger winner can be selected in a completely fair and impartial manner.


Nominees must meet two essential criteria. First, their writing careers must have been outstanding, and their writing must have been published in the English language, whether originally or in translation. Second, they must have made a remarkable contribution to crime writing. The award is made purely on merit without reference to age, gender or nationality.

The Diamond Dagger recognises authors whose crime-writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre. It is the most prestigious UK lifetime award awarded to a crime writer.

Current holder

Diamond Dagger 2024 Winner

Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke

Lynda La Plante CBE began her career as an actor in TV and theatre. She graduated from RADA, where her fellow students included Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt. 

La Plante wrote … More

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