The Debut Dagger Award
For over two decades the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers.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 weekday 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.
You do not need to have completed the novel in order to enter. No title sheet should be included.
The Debut Dagger closes every year at 6pm GMT on the last weekday of February and reopens on 1 October. The submission portal is accessed from this page, so please return here on 1 October. Before entering, please read the full rules and T&C which are updated every year and again are visible from 1 October.
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.