The Debut Dagger Award
About the CWA Debut Dagger competition
For over two decades the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents, and the shortlisted entries are presented to publishers and agents. The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a full-length novel published by a traditional publisher and who at the time of the competition closing on 28 February has not got a contract with a publisher or literary agent.
The international competition is for:
the opening of a crime novel not exceeding 3,000 words and a synopsis of up to 1,500 words.
Please note the 2019 increase to the synopsis word count allowance.
The Debut Dagger closes every year on February 28 and reopens in the autumn.
If you experience any problems with the submission or payment process, please email us here
After 28 Feb, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have difficulties submitting or paying, please email us on either address before the 28 Feb 18.00 GMT deadline.
You might want to refer to the 2019 trouble-shooting guide under Crime Writing Tips.
The Debut Dagger longlist for 2019 will be announced at CrimeFest in May. The shortlist will be announced in the summer. The winner is announced at the CWA Dagger Awards Gala Dinner in October.
All shortlisted entrants will receive feedback from the judges about their entries. Winning the Debut Dagger doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. But it does mean your work will be brought to the attention of leading agents and top editors, who have signed up over two dozen winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger competitors. For their stories, see our Debuts web page – and visit the page for crime writing tips too. Several tips are written by the readers for the Debut Dagger competition so it’s worth getting ahead by taking a look.
Yet entering the Debut Dagger is more than just entering a competition. You can also join our community via the Facebook Group giving you the opportunity to ask questions, share your experiences and help out your fellow writers.
You might also like to sign up to our Debuts mailing list to get regular information about events and competitions likely to be of interest via the CRA Newsletter, as well as the fabulous ezine Case Files, showcasing the latest crime writing releases.