The Crime Writers’ Association

The Entry Process

There are four separate ways that entries may be submitted, depending on the Dagger in question. Below we have outlined the different entry processes, but if you have any questions please contact for more details.

Nominated by publishers or authors

In order to be eligible for entry into the following Daggers, nominations must be submitted by an approved publisher or the author of the book or short story.


To nominate, publishers need to be traditional publishers and approved by our DLO. They will be issued with login details enabling them to nominate from this website.

There is a cost attached, payable on nomination. If the author is a fully subscribed CWA member, this cost is discounted by 50%.

There is no limit to how many Daggers a book can be submitted for provided it meets eligibility rules on each.

If a book is published first as an ebook, it can be nominated and submitted to judges as a pdf. However, it cannot be nominated again when published in print. If first publication is as an ebook but publishers prefer to wait until print publication before nominating, that’s fine.


Any traditionally published author can self-nominate their book or story if it is eligible (see requirements for each award above). They do not have to be CWA members. Self-published authors can self-nominate their book or story if they are a CWA member. A 50% discount (refunded retrospectively) applies to titles by CWA members.


The judging process

More details can be found in Terms & Conditions (see the red button above), together with information on who can enter and how.

Nominated by librarians

The Dagger in the Library is awarded to a UK crime writer every year.

Eligible authors have published six or more crime books over a period of 10 years or more and have never won the Diamond Dagger. The list of eligible authors who libraries can nominate is selected by the Dagger in the Library judges each year.

Up to three members of staff from each British library can nominate.

The nominating period is from autumn until the last working in day in February of the year in which the award is made.

The key factors in nominating authors are that the author must be popular with library users and must have offered support to libraries.

Authors who were shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library one year are not eligible in the following two years.

Nominations are now open

Submitting for the Debut Dagger

The Debut Dagger opens for entries on 1 October and runs to the last working day in February the following year.

Entries are eligible from writers who have never had a contract for a full-length novel of any kind and who don’t have an agent when the competition closes at the end of February. Entrants may have self-published their entry or any other novel. CWA members are not eligible to enter.

Make sure you have read the rules and have your correctly prepared file before you submit your work. You can pay for your entry in advance and apply the voucher token when submitting.

Please note the eligibility rules have changed slightly for the 2022 Debut Dagger.

If you experience difficulties submitting or paying, contact us on If there’s no reply, contact . Please remember we work office hours.

You must let us know of any difficulties before the deadline of 6pm GMT on the final day of the competition (Monday 28 February 2022). If you’ve not made a payment or submission before the deadline, and then you report a problem, we won’t be able to help. It’s in your interests to make the entry before 5.59pm for this reason!

Click through to the shop to buy your £36 entry fee. Please note: you can buy your entry in advance of submitting. If you choose to do so, you will be sent a code which you’ll need to use when you submit your entry. Keep it safe.

You must have both paid for the entry and submitted it by the deadline of 6pm GMT Monday 28 February 2022.


Diamond Dagger: Nominated by CWA Members

All CWA members are invited to make one nomination for the Diamond Dagger every year. Voting opens in spring and ends in late summer and is advertised in Red Herrings. Members need to nominate an eligible writer together with why they think they should be awarded the Diamond Dagger.


The Margery Allingham Short Mystery Prize

If you are looking for information on how to submit your story into the The Margery Allingham short mystery competition, please click here. The terms and conditions are included at the bottom of this page.

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