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Hall of Fame
Our Diamond Dagger winners over the decades comprise a very impressive Hall of Fame, showcasing the authors who have consistently brought us superlative crime writing in the English language. Here we’ve collected exclusive information about a number of those writers to give you an insight into their lives, their writing and their careers – and what the Diamond Dagger means to them.
Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America, and beyond. He is the author of more than 60 critically acclaimed books, that cover a wide range of genres. His work has been translated into 25 languages.
He brought a cast of crime fiction characters into the American canon with his first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, featuring private detective, Easy Rawlins. Several of his books have been adapted for screen, including Devil in a Blue Dress starring Denzel Washington, the HBO production of Always Outnumbered, starring Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Cole, and Apple TV+’s production of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey starring Samuel Jackson.
Walter was interviewed by our 2009 Diamond Dagger winner, Andrew Taylor. You can read the interview here.
Soon after receiving the Diamond Dagger, Walter sat down with the CWA official podcast partner, Crime Time FM, to talk to Paul Burke.
You can download and listen to it here
C J Sansom
One of Britain’s bestselling historical novelists, Christopher John Sansom was born in 1952 in Edinburgh. He was educated at Birmingham University with a BA and then a PhD in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He combined both history and law in his debut novel Dissolution – a darkly fascinating novel of monastic murder and politics. Published in 2003, Dissolution was an immediate bestseller, and critical success. Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter called it ‘extraordinarily impressive’, while PD James described it as ‘remarkable’.
CJ is interviewed here by Andrew Taylor (Diamond Dagger winner 2009).
My love of detective fiction dates back to the age of eight, when I first discovered Agatha Christie. I watched the film Murder Most Foul at a bizarre but memorable village fete – opened by Margaret Rutherford, who descended from a helicopter! – and my enjoyment of the mystery prompted me to start reading Christie’s books. The full story of that extraordinary day is told in The Golden Age of Murder, but really, from that moment on I was hooked. At the same time, I conceived the wild ambition of become a crime writer. Over the years, my passion for the genre has never faltered. I’ve been lucky to fulfil that early dream and perhaps I owe this to keeping the faith and writing books that I truly believe in.
Martina Cole was born in Essex, the youngest of five children of Irish Catholic parents. Before embarking on her hugely successful writing career, she had worked in a variety of jobs, ranging from a wine waitress to an agency nurse. It was the publication of her debut novel, Dangerous Lady, in 1991, which set her walking down the mean streets of gritty crime fiction. Her novels, many of which have been adapted for television, have been praised for their keen sense of atmospheric realism and their strong, female protagonists. Her latest novel, Loyalty, is due to be published by Headline in 2022.
I realised when I started writing my first novel that making a career out of writing was going to be even more difficult than getting that first novel published. Still, I couldn’t see any way to approach the challenge other than one step (or book) at a time. The truth is that where exactly an idea comes from is often mysterious, but if it’s apparent it’s going to work as a story – and to be enjoyable both to write and to read – no writer is going to quibble. We just have to put our trust in the process.
My biographical details are of necessity sparse – I am unmarried having had a lot of ill-health when young and before the discovery of steroids which nowadays help, but not cure, the condition from which I suffered (the nephrotic syndrome). I was born in 1930 and went to Greenhead High School in Huddersfield until I was 16, when I became ill. Since 1946 I have lived in a large village north of Canterbury, some of the time acting as practice manager and dispenser to my father who was the sole general practitioner here at the time. I have always taken a great interest in parish history and have edited and published several of them. I was for eleven years chairman of the United Kingdom Girl Guide Finance Committee and for a time the Assistant Treasurer of the World Association of Girl Guides and Scouts.
I married for the first time in 1973 and for the second time in 1996. By my first marriage there were two fine sons, Stuart and Shane, now both in their early forties. Stuart has three children and Shane one (so far). Unfortunately Stuart lives in Sweden and Shane is settling in Ibiza so I have to content myself with seeing the beaming faces of my grandchildren online. My wife and I live quietly in Buckinghamshire.
I am bitterly opposed to defining authors by spouse, children, age, sex, race, nationality, politics, religion, education, where born, where living, career mistakes, hobbies, pets, favourite colour, or what damned fruit they would be. Sometimes I believe authors should be quite invisible, though of course all the points mentioned affect how I write. Textual analysis possibly reveals a baby-boom Brummie brought up by ‘barrack room lawyers’ in the radio age who is kind to spiders.
I’ve published nearly fifty books, and I’ve supported myself by writing since 1981. I’ve also reviewed widely – especially in the Independent, The Times and the Spectator (whose crime fiction reviewer I was for ten years).
Born June 24, 1938, in Buffalo, New York. Graduated from Bennett High School in 1955, attended Antioch College. Have lived mostly in New York City ever since, and reside there now with my wife, the erstwhile Lynne Wood. Have three daughters and four granddaughters. Just completed a semester as writer-in-residence at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, and will do this again in the fall of 2020—and, really, for as long as they’ll have me.
I am fortunate to be married to a keen reader of crime fiction who will also write when pressed, although she prefers to paint. When a second TV series of Cribb was commissioned and needed to be written in a terrifyingly short time, we divided the work and both names appeared on the credits. I met Jax at Reading University and we celebrated our Diamond Wedding in 2019. Our daughter Kathy had a successful career in banking in America and was a vice-president of J.P. Morgan investment bank. Our son Phil is a writer with four psychological suspense novels to his credit as well as a trilogy of fantasy novels illustrated by his wife Jacqui and featuring a character called Matlock the Hare. Phil won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2011.
John le Carre
John le Carré is the nom de plume of David John Moore Cornwell, who was born in 1931 in Poole, Dorset, and was educated at Sherborne School, at the University of Bern and at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated with a first-class honours degree in Modern Languages. He taught at Eton from 1956 to 1958 and was a member of the British Foreign Service from 1959 to 1964, serving first as Second Secretary in the British Embassy in Bonn, and subsequently as Political Consul in Hamburg.
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