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For over two decades the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers.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 the last day of 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.
The Debut Dagger closes every year at 6pm GMT on the last day of February and reopens on 1 October. Please return to this page then to enter the 2020 competition!
The winner will be announced at the glamorous CWA Dagger Awards Gala Dinner at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City on 24 October 2019. To book your place at the premier crime-writing awards ceremony of the year, fill in the booking form here. Hurry! The tickets are selling like hot cakes.
See our full list of shortlisted and longlisted authors here.
Why should you enter?
All shortlisted Debut Dagger entrants receive feedback from the judges about their entries. Moreover, all shortlisted entries are sent to UK agents and publishers who take crime fiction.
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, authors 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.