The Crime Writers’ Association

CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

The Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) is on the hunt to find the best unpublished short mystery story.

Entries are being invited for the 2021 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story competition, with just weeks before deadline closes on 26 February for the international writing competition.

The Margery Allingham Society, set up to honour and promote the writings of the great Golden Age author whose well-known hero is Albert Campion, works with the CWA to operate and fund the writing competition. Each year the competition attracts many entries from the UK and overseas.

Dea Parkin, Secretary of the CWA, said: “This year promises to be hotly contended. Editors and agents have predicted mystery stories are a strong trend in 2021, with Richard Osman’s soar-away hit debut, The Thursday Murder Club, a key touchstone for publishers. This short story competition is a fantastic way of building a writer’s craft, and profile, in this genre.”

Entrants are asked to focus on specific elements to match Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery, which is: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.”

Dea said: “It’s easy to see why authors like Robert Thorogood are so popular as readers are craving proper whodunnits in the pandemic. Thorogood created the TV hit show, Death in Paradise, and his latest novel The Marlow Murder Club is another example of this trend. Real life is so uncontrollable and daunting at the moment, but these ‘cosy’ stories provide some reassurance as they offer clues, suspects, great characters and locations, with a satisfying resolution and the mystery solved.”

The CWA anthology, Vintage Crime, is edited by the 2014 winner of the Margery Allingham prize – acclaimed crime writer Martin Edwards. Shortlisted authors for the prize have also found wider success, such as Christine Poulson, whose short story ‘Accounting for Murder’ featured in the CWA anthology, Mystery Tour, and went on to be shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger.

Submissions have a limit of 3,500 words. It costs £12 to enter. The winner receives £500, a selection of Margery Allingham books, and two passes for the international crime writing convention CrimeFest in 2022. Being shortlisted for this renowned competition also brings attention and prestige.

The longlist, shortlist and winner will be announced by the CWA online in spring/summer.

For rules and to submit an entry, go to Short Story Competition here on the CWA website. The deadline is 6pm on 26 February 2021.



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