The Crime Writers’ Association has awarded its Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2004 to the American writer, Lawrence Block. The Diamond Dagger, sponsored by Cartier, has been awarded annually for nineteen years to mark a lifetime’s achievement in crime writing. Previous winners have included John Le Carre, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and Colin Dexter.
It is the latest in a world-wide series of awards for Lawrence Block. He is a Grandmaster of the Mystery Writers of America and has won the Edgar Allen Poe and Shamus award four times each and the Japanese Maltese Falcon Award twice. His short fiction has also brought him the French Societe 813 trophy. He lives in New York City.
When told about the award of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger he said: “Words fail me. And they really shouldn’t, should they? When one is being so splendidly honoured for spending half a century spewing them out and stringing them together, words ought to have the decency to rise to the occasion. And what I need to say, simply, is that this is a great honour and one which, though I may have contemplated it in greedy fantasy, I never dreamed I’d receive. To be acknowledged for a lifetime of work by the most august and prestigious body of one’s colleagues in the world. . .well, what can I say?”
Lawrence Block came to London for the presentation of the Diamond Dagger on Wednesday 12 May at the Savoy Hotel by Monsieur Arnaud Bamberger of Cartier.
The chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, Hilary Bonner, said: “We are thrilled to make our most prestigious award to such an accomplished writer and delighted he will be flying to London to receive it.”
The Award was set up in 1986 when the first winner was Eric Ambler. Subsequent recipients have been P.D. James, John le Carré, Dick Francis, Julian Symons, Ruth Rendell, Leslie Charteris, Ellis Peters, Michael Gilbert, Reginald Hill, H.R.F. Keating, Colin Dexter, Ed McBain, Margaret Yorke and Peter Lovesey. The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for 2003 went to Robert Barnard.