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 30 November 2020, with immediate submission strongly encouraged.

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

Next year, for the Daggers 2021, titles will be eligible for nomination with publication dates from 1 January to 31 December 2021. Closing dates for nominations are yet to be confirmed.

Regarding the other four Daggers. The Debut Dagger is for the opening of an unpublished crime novel by a writer who hasn’t got an agent by the time the competition closes, and who has never had a contract for a full-length novel. The deadline for the Debut Dagger is 26 February 2021 and it opens for entry on 1 October 2020. The Dagger in the Library for an author popular with library-goers is nominated by librarians, with the same opening and closing dates, and the Publishers’ Dagger is nominated by an industry committee. The most prestigious Dagger of all, the Diamond Dagger for a lifetime contribution to crime writing, is nominated by CWA members and selected by an industry committee.


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 30 November 2020. Publishers have a further week until 8 December 2020 to deliver the work to the judges.

To view our T&Cs please click here.

Submit your nominations now

View the winners archive