The Crime Writers' Association

CWA Dagger in the Library

The CWA Dagger in the Library is an award for which librarians nominate an author.

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of UK libraries particularly admire. Only librarians can nominate authors for the award. It is one of the most prestigious crime writing awards in the UK and previous winners include Mari Hannah, Elly Griffiths, Christopher Fowler, Sharon Bolton,  Alexander McCall Smith, Stephen Booth, Peter Robinson,  Lindsey Davis, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Christopher Brookmyre and in 2021, Peter May.

Up to three members of staff from each British library can nominate an eligible author from the list below. The list of eligible authors is selected by the Dagger in the Library judges each year and comprises authors writing in the UK who have had at least six crime books published over a period of 10 years or more, who were not shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library in the previous year and who have never won either the Dagger in the Library or the Diamond Dagger.

Libraries: please take advantage and let us know the crime writer who you think is not only most popular with borrowers but who supports UK libraries the most. Nominations close on Monday 28 February 2022 at 6pm.

Nominations now open


    “I was delighted to win the Dagger in the Library this year, not least because of my long and fruitful association with libraries – as a borrower.

    When I was a child the whole family went to the library every Friday night, returning laden with books for the week’s reading ahead. As a young, aspiring writer in my late teens and early twenties, I haunted my local library, devouring the books I could not afford to buy.

    Back then we took it as a given that we would always have free access to books and learning. It is only now, as government cuts force libraries to close down all over the country, do we realise what a precious social resource is being squandered.

    What the great philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, realised more than a century ago when he funded the creation of more than 2,500 libraries worldwide, was that free access to books for all is one of the fundamental cornerstones of a civilised society.

    To remove, or even chip away at that, is to fatally undermine our society, depriving the next generation of the resources it will require to build the future.”

    Peter May, winner of the CWA Dagger in the Library 2021.

    More information about Peter can be found  here.