The Crime Writers' Association

The Daggers

The CWA Daggers are the premier literary crime-writing awards in the United Kingdom. Entries to seven of our eleven Daggers are nominated by publishers and judged independently of the CWA by industry professionals. For details of each Dagger, eligibility for submission and a list of previous winners and shortlisted authors, see below.

From 2020/21, we amended the judging period so that the publication of books nominated will be much closer to when longlists, shortlists and winners are announced.

Dagger winners 2021 were announced at Daggers Live, an online awards ceremony on Thursday 1 July. Congratulations to all our winners, to our wonderful speaker Abir Mukherjee, to our MC the unflappable Barry Forshaw and to technomeister Antony Johnston. Many thanks to our lovely audience! The recording will be made available on the CWA YouTube channel shortly. The list of winners is available in a downloadable pdf from this page and at the end of the press release in News.

For Daggers 2022, the work submitted must be published in the UK or Ireland between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021. Submissions are split into two periods – from 1 January to 30 June 2021 and from 1 July to 31 December 2021. Nominations are open now. Closing dates for nominations are confirmed  as 31 July and 15 October 2021 respectively.

There are four Daggers which are not nominated by publishers. The Debut Dagger is a competition for the opening of a crime novel by a writer who isn’t represented by an agent by the time the competition closes, and who has never had a traditional contract for a full-length novel. The Debut Dagger opens for entries on 1 October and runs to the last working day in February the following year. The Dagger in the Library is for an author who has been writing crime novels for over 10 years, is popular with library users and who in turn supports libraries. Authors are nominated by librarians from a long list of eligible candidates supplied by the Dagger judges, and the window for nominating is also October to the following February. The most recent innovation (2019), the Publishers’ Dagger, is nominated by an industry committee in consultation with authors. The most prestigious Dagger of all, the Diamond Dagger for a lifetime contribution to crime writing, is nominated by CWA members. A shortlist is selected by a specialist committee and the winner voted on by the CWA Board.


Nominations for the 2022 Daggers are open now.

The second judging period is for books published from 1 August to 31 December.

All online forms must be submitted by 15 October, and the books to reach the judges by 15th November.

This is to prevent a backlog of titles arriving in the final weeks. To help facilitate the judging we suggest that works can be submitted in advance of true publication date by supplying judges with proofs if available.

To view our T&Cs please click here.

Submit your nominations now

View the winners archive