The Crime Writers' Association

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Dagger in the Library 2017 Winner Announced

The winner of the CWA 2017 Dagger in the Library has been revealed: Mari Hannah.

Mari said: ‘Membership of the Crime Writers’ Association links me to those who write and read crime fiction, essential for any author working in the genre. To receive the Dagger in the Library 2017 is such an honour so early in my career – I’m thrilled!’

The winner was declared at a reception at the British Library on Saturday 17 June by Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA. Martin said: ‘At a time when the CWA is expanding its support for public and independent libraries, I am delighted to congratulate Mari. Her DCI Kate Daniels books, set in the North East, are tremendously popular and we know they’re eagerly devoured by library goers and book groups. Congratulations also to the quintet of superb shortlisted authors: Kate Ellis, James Oswald, Tara French, CJ Sansom and Andrew Taylor on reaching the shortlist stage of what is a highly competitive award.’

The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. In 2017 the CWA worked alongside The Reading Agency to involve book clubs and reading groups, via Reading Groups for Everyone, in reaching the shortlist and winner stages. However, the Dagger in the Library is unique among crime-writing awards in that only library staff are able to make the original author nominations.

Mari will also be honoured at the CWA Dagger Awards Dinner in London on October 26 – tickets are now available from admin@thecwa.co.uk.

The Dagger in the Library announcement follows a new crime-writing event: Alibis in the Archive. It took place at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, North Wales and involved a partnership with the CWA and the Detection Club. The library now stores the British Crime Writing Archives, and hosted a sell-out event earlier this month featuring leading publishers and a host of crime writers including CWA Diamond Dagger 2017 winner Ann Cleeves.  More details and photos can be seen here.

Martin Edwards said: ‘Alibis in the Archive was an amazing success. Gifted presenters entertained delegates with a wide range of events, including two interactive murder mystery events, panel discussion, and talks on subjects ranging from Sherlock Holmes to secret poisonings and classic crime publishing. The wonderfully atmospheric Gladstone’s Library was the perfect setting, and feedback was so positive that we have already decided that Alibis will return next year. We’re expecting another sell-out.

‘The CWA is committed to supporting the work of libraries, both public and independent, and to that end has recently created a Libraries Champion in author Ruth Dudley Edwards. This, coupled with the Dagger in the Library, Alibis in the Archive, and our National Crime Reading Month, which sees crime writers visiting libraries up and down the country, shows that the bond between libraries, crime writers, and readers has never been stronger.”

Mari says:

It’s been quite a journey! I’ve been a member of the Crime Writer’s Association since 2011. I joined on the recommendation of my agent, Oli Munson, and authors I admire. I can remember how excited I was. This was the day that I was no longer aspiring, but an actual author linked through the association to writers who gave me inspiration, top names of international, multi-award winning status. I’d finally arrived.

Fast forward to the Dagger in the Library 2017. To receive this award is such an honour so early in my career. I’m still pinching myself! It means so much because, in the early stages, it was librarians and readers who voted me onto the longlist. I grew up in a home that had few books. Libraries were very important to me. As reader-in-residence for Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival it’s my job to engage with the reading public. Only last week, I toured the North East and Yorkshire with the Big Read, a bittersweet experience due to library funding cuts across the country. It breaks my heart that we are losing so many, along with the expertise of professional librarians who can, and do, deliver so much more than books on shelves. I have campaigned long and hard to keep them open. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for all the support they have given me, and to acknowledge the sterling work of the CWA and judges, the Reading Agency and my fellow shortlisted authors: Andrew Taylor, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, CJ Sansom and Tana French.