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 2025 Daggers is now open for novels, short stories, anthologies, and works of non-fiction that are published between 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2024.

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 2024 competition is now closed. Thank you for voting.

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

UK and Irish libraries and their users are invited to propose names of authors for this award.

Libraries (staff and volunteers alike) are asked to nominate authors to be in contention for Dagger in the Library during the autumn of each year, and to vote on the nominees until the end of the following February.

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

Dagger in the Library 2025 will open for nominations in autumn 2024, and votes in January and February 2025.

The Debut Dagger

Sponsored by ProWritingAid.

The Debut Dagger is now closed.

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

It is an international competition for unpublished crime 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 fiction of over 20,000 words unless it was removed from public sale five years or more previous to the deadline date.

Shortlisted entrants have their entries shown to agents and publishers.

Announcement schedule

The longlist for 2024 will be announced at a date to be confirmed in mid April, the shortlist at CrimeFest on 10 May, and the winner at the Dagger Awards Dinner held on 4 July in London.

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 2025 opens 1 October 2024 and closes to entries at 6pm GMT on Friday 28 February 2025.

Please address any queries to the CWA Competitions Coordinator:

The Diamond Dagger

The Diamond Dagger is the highest accolade awarded by the CWA for a lifetime achievement in crime writing.

Nominated by CWA members: all CWA members are each invited to submit a nomination for the award every year, giving their reasons. Voting is advertised in Red Herrings, usually opening in spring and ending in late summer.

The shortlist is agreed by a Diamond Dagger committee specially appointed by the CWA, comprising reviewers and other experts in crime writing and headed by Andrew Taylor, former Diamond Dagger winner and our Diamond Dagger Ambassador. The winner is voted for by former Diamond Dagger winners.

No author can win the Diamond Dagger more than once, and because it is for lifetime achievement then writers past the midpoint in their crime-writing careers are the likely beneficiaries.


The Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

The 2024 international Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition for a short story up to 3,500 words encapsulating the Golden Age writer’s definition of a mystery is now closed.

We anticipate the 2025 edition of the competition reopening in autumn 2024.

Please address any enquiries to the CWA Competitions Coordinator:

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

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