The Debut Dagger Award
About the CWA Debut Dagger competition
The Debut Dagger competition 2020 is now closed for entries.
For over two decades the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers.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 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. Independently published authors, provided they fulfil the criteria above, are eligible to enter.
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.
You do not need to have completed the novel in order to enter.
The Debut Dagger closes every year at 6pm GMT on the last day of February and reopens on 1 October.
The winner from 2020 will be announced at the glamorous CWA Dagger Awards Gala Dinner at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City on 22 October 2020.
We will be taking bookings for the premier crime-writing awards ceremony of the year from the summer so don’t forget to book then. The event is open to everyone, and as well as authors in contention for all the CWA Daggers, there will be agents, publishers and personalities from the crime publishing world to network with.
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, crime-writing process and competitions via the CRA Newsletter, as well as the fabulous ezine Case Files, showcasing the latest crime writing releases.