The Crime Writers’ Association

CWA Dagger Awards 2020 Longlists Announced

The 2020 longlists for the prestigious CWA Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime writing genre, have been announced.

The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

The longlist for the CWA Gold Dagger – the award for best crime novel – sees last year’s winner, MW Craven, return with the second book in his Poe series, Black Summer. Craven is up against stiff competition with established and multi-award-winning authors including Elly Griffiths for The Lantern Men, Mick Herron with Joe Country and Abir Mukherjee’s Death in the East all on the list.

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger is famed for showcasing blockbuster thrillers – past winners include Gillian Flynn and Robert Harris. 2020’s longlist is dominated by the new guard of the genre who are now fixtures on the awards’ calendar. It includes AA Dhand for One Way Out, the fourth in his D I Harry Virdee series set in Bradford, The Whisper Man by Alex North – a Richard and Judy book club pick dubbed the biggest thriller of 2019 (also longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger) – and Eva Dolan with Between Two Evils. Dolan was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger in 2016. Also on the longlist is another coveted Richard and Judy pick, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing, a riveting psychological suspense described by Marie Claire magazine as ‘the next Gone Girl’.

Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “The CWA Dagger longlists showcase crime authors – established and new – at the top of their game. They reveal the wide and diverse nature of the genre and why it is so hugely relevant. Crime novels, stories and non-fiction can be social commentary, entertainment and escapism, an exploration of human nature and reflections of a nation’s psyche. The talent in these longlists demonstrate why crime is the UK’s most popular and enduring genre. The CWA Dagger awards are unparalleled for their reputation and longevity. We are proud to provide a platform for debut, emerging and established authors, and to honour the very best in crime writing.”

The much-anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger highlights the best debut novels. Among the new class of 2020 to watch for is Owen Matthews with Black Sun – a Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month dubbed the outstanding, page-turning thriller of 2020. Matthews is up against a similarly praised title, Little White Lies by Philippa East, acclaimed for being an addictive, unputdownable thriller. Trevor Wood, who served in the Royal Navy for 16 years, makes the list with The Man on the Street, set in his home city Newcastle, featuring a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, dubbed by Lee Child as ‘an instant classic’.

Andrew Taylor and Abir Mukherjee flex their writing muscles appearing in two Dagger categories. Taylor’s The King’s Evil (also up for an Ian Fleming Steel Dagger) and Abir Mukherjee’s Death in the East (also longlisted for the Gold Dagger) are both on the Sapere Books Historical Dagger longlist. They contend with Metropolis, the capstone of a fourteen-book journey through the life of Philip Kerr’s signature character, Bernhard Genther, completed just before Kerr’s untimely death.

The longlist for best historical crime novel also features SG Maclean who won the Dagger last year for Destroying Angel, she returns with The Bear Pit. Lynne Truss is in contention with The Man That Got Away, as is Nicola Upson for Sorry for the Dead and Alis Hawkins for In Two Minds.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger sees one of Finland’s most-acclaimed and award-winning writers, Antti Tuomainen with Little Siberia translated by David Hackston. The ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ has seen his novels translated into 25 languages. In a tightly contested longlist, he’s up against the winner of the prestigious French mystery prize 2018 Grand Prix de Littérature policière, Marion Brunet whose novel Summer of Reckoning is translated by Katherine Gregor.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story. The 2020 CWA Short Story Dagger sees giants of the genre go head to head. It features two short stories from Jeffery Deaver – Connecting the Dots and The Bully. He’s up against (among others) two stories from British master Christopher Fowler – The Washing and Bryant and May and the Devil’s Triangle.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction features Casey Cep, a staff writer at the New York Times whose first book Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Also on the longlist is The Professor and the Parson by Adam Sisman which reveals how an unlikely Casanova and blacklisted clergyman conned his way around the world and was praised as a ‘white knuckle roller-coaster ride of fibs and frauds’ in the Sunday Telegraph. He joins Red River Girl by Joanna Jolly, an astonishing feat of investigation from the award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker, focussed on the efforts to seek justice of the murder of teenager Tina Fontaine.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year sees firm favourites from the genre including Mick Herron, Erin Kelly, Lisa Jewell and Denise Mina on the longlist.

One of the most exciting highlights of the awards is the Debut Dagger competition, open to unknown and uncontracted writers. Names to watch include Anna Caig, who also writes for the Sheffield Telegraph, for The Spae-Wife.

This year also features the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, launched in 2019, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing.

The CWA Dagger shortlist will be announced later in the year before the glittering awards ceremony due to take place on 22 October with guest speaker, the TV presenter turned crime novelist, Richard Osman. The 2020 Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, the highest honour in British crime writing, will be awarded to Martin Edwards on the night.

The CWA has also announced that Della Millward has won the 2020 CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Prize for A Time to Confess. She receives £500, a selection of Margery Allingham books and two passes to the international crime writing convention CrimeFest in 2021. Highly commended were Lauren Everdell for Voices and Laila Murphy with Sting in the Tail. The Margery Allingham Society, set up to honour and promote the writings of the great Golden Age author, works with the CWA to operate and fund the writing competition.

One of the UK’s most prominent societies for the promotion and promulgation of crime writing, the CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey; the awards began in 1955 with the first going to Winston Graham, best known for Poldark. They are regarded by the publishing world as the foremost British awards for crime-writing.

The Longlist in Full:


Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton)

Gary Bell: Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Raven Books)

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)

MW Craven: Black Summer (Constable)

John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown)

Lucy Foley: The Guest List (Harper Fiction)

Elly Griffiths: The Lantern Men (Quercus Fiction)

Chris Hammer: Silver (Wildfire)

Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray)

SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)

Patrick McGuinness: Throw Me to the Wolves (Jonathan Cape)

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)

Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)

Scott Phillips: That Left Turn at Albuquerque (Soho Crime)

Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)

Tim Weaver: No One Home (Michael Joseph)



Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)

Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton)

Karen Cleveland: Keep You Close (Bantam Press)

AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press)

Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books)

Helen Fields: Perfect Kill (Avon)

Oliver Harris: A Shadow Intelligence (Little, Brown)

Peter Heller: The River (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Greg Iles: Cemetery Road (Harper Fiction)

David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ)

Adrian McKinty: The Chain (Orion Fiction)

Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)

Andrew Taylor: The King’s Evil (Harper Fiction)



Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber)

Sherryl Clark: Trust Me, I’m Dead (Verve Books)

Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph)

Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ)

Andrew James Greig: Whirligig (Fledgling Press)

AS Hatch: This Dark Little Place (Serpent’s Tail)

James Von Leyden: A Death in the Medina (Constable)

Deborah Masson: Hold Your Tongue (Corgi)

Owen Matthews: Black Sun (Bantam Press)

Felicity McLean: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone (Point Blank)

Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze)

Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)



Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press)

Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction)

SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)

SW Perry: The Serpent’s Mark (Corvus)

Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books)

Gareth Rubin: Liberation Square (Michael Joseph)

SD Sykes: The Bone Fire (Hodder & Stoughton)

Andrew Taylor: The King’s Evil (Harper Collins)

Lynne Truss: The Man That Got Away (Raven Books)

Nicola Upson: Sorry for the Dead (Faber & Faber)

Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable)




Edoardo Albinati: The Catholic School, translated by Anthony Shugaar (Picador)

Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press)

Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)

K Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books)

Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable)

Johana Gustawsson: Blood Song, translated by David Warriner (Orenda Books)

Jørn Lier Horst: The Cabin, translated by Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph)

Sergio Olguin: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press)

Leonardo Padura: Grab a Snake by the Tail, translated by Peter Bush (Bitter Lemon Press)

Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)



Fiona Cummins: Dead Weight in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Jeffery Deaver: Connecting the Dots in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)

Jeffery Deaver: The Bully in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Paul Finch: The New Lad in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Christopher Fowler: The Washing in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)

Christopher Fowler: Bryant and May and The Devil’s Triangle in Bryant and May: England’s Finest (Doubleday)

Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)

Louise Jensen: The Recipe in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Dean Koontz: Kittens in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Syd Moore: Easily Made in 12 Strange Days of Christmas (Point Blank Press)



Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann)

Julia Ebner: Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books)

Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod (Oneworld Publications)

Joanna Jolly: Red River Girl (Virago)

Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey: She Said (Bloomsbury Circus)

Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury (Simon & Schuster)

Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books)

Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador)

Fred Vermorel: Dead Fashion Girl: A Situationist Detective Story (Strange Attractor Press)



Benjamin Black

Christopher Brookmyre

Jane Casey

Paul Finch

Alex Gray

Mick Herron

Quintin Jardine

Lisa Jewell

Erin Kelly

Adrian McKinty

Denise Mina

James Oswald



Barbara Austin: Lowlands

Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife

Loraine Fowlow: Undercut

Leanne Fry: Whipstick

Kim Hays: Pesticide

Jack Kapica: Blogger’s End

Nicholas Morrish: Emergency Drill

Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies

Michael Munro: Bitter Lake

Karen Taylor: Grim Fairy Tale

Jane Wing: Dark Pastimes

Sarah Yarwood-Lovett: A Generation of Vipers



Allison & Busby

Bitter Lemon

Harvill Secker

Head of Zeus


Michael Joseph



Pushkin Vertigo


Severn House



The longlist is available on the CWA website (from noon on 5 June), as well as via its Facebook, Twitter #CWADaggers and YouTube channel.


For further media info please contact Ann Chadwick, M: 07534 892715.

Notes to Editors

About the CWA

The CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey. Its aim is to support, promote and celebrate this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres and the authors who write within it.

It runs the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards, which celebrate the best in crime writing, hosted every autumn.

A thriving, growing community with a membership encompassing authors of all ages and at all stages of their careers, the CWA is UK-based, yet attracts many members from overseas.

It supports author members (plus literary agents, publishers, bloggers and editors) with a monthly magazine; a digital monthly newsletter showcasing CWA authors and their books and events that goes to over 11,500 subscribers; and Case Files, a bimonthly ezine highlighting new books by CWA members.

The CWA also supports the Debuts; as yet unpublished writers, many of whom enter the Debut Dagger competition and the Margery Allingham Short Mystery competition, the winner of which will also be announced on 5 June.

The CWA run an annual conference and hold chapter meetings throughout the UK so members can access face-to-face networking and socialising.

It supports libraries and booksellers, with two Library Champions and a Booksellers Champion. It has links with various festivals and many other writers’ organisations such as the Society of Authors.

CWA Dagger Judging Panels

The Dagger judging panels are made up of leading experts from the world of publishing, media and academia. This year the new judges who have joined the ‘old hands’ deliberating on the submissions from publishers for the 2019/2020 Daggers, are:

In addition, Canaletto author Janet Laurence will switch from chairing what was formerly known as the International Dagger to oversee the Sapere Historical Dagger, and will be replaced by CWA Honorary Vice Chair Maxim Jakubowski, who is moving on after four years at the helm of the John Creasey (First Blood) Dagger, which will now be chaired by ex-Severn House publisher and owner Edwin Buckhalter. The full list of judges for each category can be found at

CWA Daggers – The Categories


This award is for the best crime novel by an author of any nationality. It was originally created in 1955, under the name of the Crossed Red Herrings Award. It was renamed the Gold Dagger in 1960.


Eligible books in this category are thrillers set in any period and include, but are not limited to, spy fiction, psychological thrillers and action/adventure stories.


This award is for the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality.


This award is for a crime novel not originally written in English and which has been translated into English for UK publication.


This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime-related theme by an author of any nationality.


This award is for the best historical crime novel, set in any period up to 50 years prior to the year in which the award will be made.


This award is for any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment.


The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by an established crime writer who has long been popular with borrowers from libraries, and who has supported libraries and their users.


A competition for the opening of a crime novel and synopsis, chosen by judges: bestselling author Leigh Russell, editor Stephanie Glencross (of Gregory and Company), Editorial Director at Bonnier Zaffre Katherine Armstrong and director of literary agency A.M. Heath and Co. Oli Munson.


This prestigious Dagger is awarded annually to the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year.


Awarded every year to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, and who has made a significant contribution to the genre. Votes from CWA members go forward to be deliberated on by an independent panel.

This Dagger is announced in early spring each year and in 2020 goes to celebrated Golden Age specialist, anthology editor, reviewer and fiction writer Martin Edwards.

To view past winners, or find out more, please visit

Dagger Sponsors

ALCS – Sponsors of the Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

About the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society: The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit organisation started by writers for the benefit of all types of writers. Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity; ensure they receive fair payment and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal. It represents over 100,000 members, and since 1977 has paid around £500 million to writers (

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd – Sponsors of the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd is the Fleming family-owned company that looks after the James Bond literary brand, by promoting and making available all of Ian Fleming’s 007 books across the world. They also keep the brand alive through the publication of new stories by authors such as Anthony Horowitz, William Boyd, Jeffery Deaver, Sebastian Faulks, Raymond Benson, John Gardner, Kingsley Amis, Samantha Weinberg, Steve Cole and Charlie Higson. Alongside James Bond publishing, the company also manages the rights for Fleming’s two non-fiction books and his only children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Sapere Books – Sponsors of the CWA Historical Dagger

Sapere Books is a digital-first publisher with a keen interest in historical and contemporary crime fiction and thrillers. Having launched in March 2018, Sapere Books now has many authors signed to its list and continues expanding. It is always keen to hear from crime writers, particularly those who are working on a planned series, or who have out-of-print titles which could be reissued digitally.

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