Arthur Ellis Awards

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The Arthur Ellis Awards are a group of Canadian literary awards, presented annually by the Crime Writers of Canada for the best Canadian crime and mystery writing published in the previous year. The award is presented at a gala dinner in the year following publication.


The awards are named for Arthur Ellis, the pseudonym of Canada's official hangman. The award statue itself is wooden model of a hanging man. The arms and legs move when the statue's string is pulled.

Best Novel

Best First Novel

Best Novella

Best Crime Book in French

Best Juvenile or Young Adult Crime Book

Best Crime Nonfiction

Best Crime Short Story

Best Unpublished First Novel - "Unhanged Arthur"

First awarded in 2007 as part of the CWC mandate to recognize and promote the careers of promising new crime writers.

Derrick Murdoch Award

This is a special achievement award for contributions to the genre of crime and mystery writing, awarded at the discretion of the president of the Crime Writers of Canada. When first presented in 1984, it was known as the Chairman's Award; it was later renamed in honour of its first recipient, Derrick Murdoch. Since 2013, it has only been presented in years when the new biennial Grand Master Award, listed below, is not presented.

Grand Master Award

The Grand Master Award is presented every two years as a lifetime achievement award, to a crime writer with a distinguished and successful national and international career.

Best Genre Criticism/Reference

The award for Best Genre Criticism or Reference has only been presented twice.

Best Play

The award for Best Play has only been presented once.

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The Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel is an annual literary award, presented as part of the Arthur Ellis Awards program to honour books judged as the best crime novel published by a Canadian crime writer in the previous year.


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