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. To view the 2020 shortlists, please click on each Dagger below.

From 2020/21, we have amended the judging period so that the publication of books nominated will be much closer to when longlists, shortlists and winners are announced. However, this means a particularly short entry period while we change over. Nominations are open from early September 2020 and the cut-off date for getting these submissions to judges is 31 December 2020, although immediate submission is strongly encouraged to avoid any backlog of reading for the judges.

Submissions are eligible with publication dates from 1 April to 31 December 2020.

Next year, for the Daggers 2022, titles will be eligible for nomination with publication dates from 1 January to 31 July 2021 and from 1 August to 31 December 2021. Closing dates for nominations are likely to be 1 April and 15 November 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 2021 Daggers are now open.

The judging period is from 1 April to 31 December 2020, so books must have been published in that period.

All online forms must be completed by 31 December 2020. Publishers have a further week until 8 January 2021 to deliver the work to the judges.

To view our T&Cs please click here.

Submit your nominations now

View the winners archive