The Crime Writers’ Association

The Entry Process

There are four kinds of Dagger, differentiated by how they are nominated. See below for an explanation of the different entry processes, and who may nominate for each Dagger. Please do not hesitate to contact the Dagger Liaison Organiser (DLO) should you require further assistance.

Entry for the 2024 Daggers (except for the Dagger in the Library and the Debut Dagger) is now closed.

The Dagger in the Library will be accepting nominations until 4 December 2023. See the DITL page for more information.

The Debut Dagger will be welcoming entries until the last working day in February 2024. See the Debut Dagger page for more information.

Daggers nominated by publishers and 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.


Traditionally published authors: Any author, published by an Approved Publisher in the UK, can self-nominate their book or story provided that the work is relevant to the appropriate award, as defined under Eligibility (section 2), and the first UK edition was published within the specified dates of the Judging Period (section 1). They do not have to be CWA members, but if they are they will be entitled to a 50% discount of the fee (refunded retrospectively).

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, including closing dates and who can enter and how can be found in Terms & Conditions.

The Dagger in the Library

The Dagger in the Library honours authors who are both popular with library users and have offered support to libraries by taking part in events.

This year, UK and Irish libraries and their users have been invited to propose names of writers for this award. Libraries (staff and volunteers) are invited to vote on the nominees from 5 January 2024. We close for votes on 29 February 2024.

For detailed information about this competition, please see our Dagger in the Library page. You can also address queries to the CWA Competitions Coordinator:

The Debut Dagger

Sponsored by ProWritingAid.

The Debut Dagger is now open.

The Debut Dagger is open for entries from 1 October and runs to the last working day in February the following year.

It is a competition for unpublished novelists looking to get representation or a publishing contract for the first time. There is also a cash prize of £500.

Entries are eligible from writers who have never had a publishing contract for a novel of any kind (over 20,000 words) and who don’t have an agent when the competition closes at the end of February. Entrants may not have self-published their entry or any other piece of writing of over 20,000 words unless it was removed from public sale 5 years or more previous to the deadline date.

Please see our Debuts blog, Crime Writing Tips, Criminal Critiques and Criminal Editing pages for information and guidance.

Why not sign up to our online newsletters? Or maybe you’d like to join our Debuts Facebook community. Visit the Debuts page to do so.

Debut Dagger 2024 opens 1 October 2023 and closes to entries at 6pm GMT on Thursday 29 February 2024.

Please address any queries to the CWA Coordinator:

The Diamond Dagger

The Diamond Dagger is nominated by CWA members. All members are invited to submit one nomination each year, giving their reasons. Voting is advertised in Red Herrings, usually opening in spring and ending late summer.


The Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

The 2023 Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition is now open.

Please address any queries to the CWA Coordinator: .

The Margery Allingham Prize is a joint initiative between the CWA and the Margery Allingham Society.

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