|Antony Johnston, Jean Briggs, Dea Parkin, Sarah Ward|
The Crime Writers' Association (CWA) is a specialist authors’ organisation in the United Kingdom, most notable for its Dagger awards for the best crime writing of the year, and the Diamond Dagger awarded to an author for lifetime achievement.The Association also promotes crime writing of fiction and non-fiction by holding annual competitions, publicising literary festivals and establishing links with libraries, booksellers and other writer organisations, both in the UK such as the Society of Authors, and overseas. The CWA enables members to network at its annual conference and through its regional chapters as well as through dedicated social media channels and private website. Members' events and general news items are published on the CWA website which also features Find An Author where CWA members are listed and information provided about themselves, their books and their awards.
The CWA publishes a monthly magazine exclusively for members called Red Herrings, edited by Matthew Booth since 2020.
The CWA runs a sister organisation aimed at readers of crime fiction and non-fiction called the Crime Reader's Association; website www.thecra.co.uk. Anyone can join free of charge and receive two digital magazines: the bimonthly Case Files and the monthly CRA Newsletter. On the site are blogs, short stories and author profiles.
Annual membership is open to any author who has had a crime novel published via a traditional publishing contract (or at the discretion of the committee), with associate and corporate membership also offered to individuals and organisations in the publishing industry such as editors, bloggers, literary agents and publishers. Provisional membership is offered to authors who have a contract with a publisher but whose book is not yet published. The CWA enables writers to contact each other by various means, promotes crime writing with annual awards, and organises social events. It also supports writing groups, festivals and literary events through its authors. The main aims of the CWA are to promote the crime genre and to support professional writers. The CWA has been providing social and professional support for its members for more than half a century, as well as running the prestigious Daggers.
In summer every year, the CWA actively promotes National Crime Reading Month: June in 2021.
The CWA was founded by John Creasey in 1953. It is chaired by Linda Stratmann (from April 2019) and has over 800 members. The Secretary of the Crime Writers' Association is currently Dea Parkin, who also runs editorial consultancy Fiction Feedback. Sarah Ward is the Membership Secretary. The day-to-day management of the organisation is by CJAM of Colchester and the CWA's official accountants and registered CWA address are at H W Fisher in William Road, London.
CWA Archives are held at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, N Wales. Archivist is Martin Edwards, who was CWA Chair from January 2017 to April 2019 - the longest-serving CWA chair since John Creasey. Martin is also editor of the CWA's anthology, a collection of stories by members usually published in alternate years.
The Crime Writers’ Association Daggers awards, the "UK's top crime writing awards"were started in 1955, less than two years after the association was founded, with the award of a Crossed Red Herring Award to Winston Graham for The Little Walls .
Over the years the number of CWA Daggers has increased. Eleven Daggers are now awarded annually by the CWA, with Red Herring awards made for those who have made a significant contribution to the CWA or crime writing. The Dagger longlists are traditionally announced at the international literary convention CrimeFest in Bristol in May, the shortlists at a London event in the summer and the winners at a glittering Dagger awards dinner usually held in October in London. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, this schedule has changed. In 2020, the Daggers were held in October live via Zoom, and in 2021 new dates will be April for the longlists, mid May for shortlists and the very end of June/early July for the winner announcements.
The CWA has produced many collections of crime writing (mainly fiction, but occasionally true crime). The editor of the CWA anthology since 1996 has been Martin Edwards. In 2003, he edited a special collection, Mysterious Pleasures, to celebrate the CWA's Golden Jubilee. Original Sins is the 2010 anthology of crime from a distinguished selection of British writers published by Severn House. In 2013 the CWA Anthology 'Deadly Pleasures' was published and in 2015 an anthology of True Crime stories was released. Mystery Tour was published in December 2018 and Vintage Crime followed in 2020.
The historical mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two literary genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time period considered historical from the author's perspective, and the central plot involves the solving of a mystery or crime. Though works combining these genres have existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters's Cadfael Chronicles (1977–1994) for popularizing what would become known as the historical mystery. The increasing popularity and prevalence of this type of fiction in subsequent decades has spawned a distinct subgenre recognized by the publishing industry and libraries. Publishers Weekly noted in 2010 of the genre, "The past decade has seen an explosion in both quantity and quality. Never before have so many historical mysteries been published, by so many gifted writers, and covering such a wide range of times and places." Editor Keith Kahla concurs, "From a small group of writers with a very specialized audience, the historical mystery has become a critically acclaimed, award-winning genre with a toehold on the New York Times bestseller list."
Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park,, known professionally as P. D. James, was an English novelist and politician. Her rise to fame came with her series of detective novels featuring Adam Dalgliesh, the police commander and poet.
Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, was an English author of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries.
Ian James Rankin is a Scottish crime writer, best known for his Inspector Rebus novels.
Andrew Taylor is a British author best known for his crime and historical novels, which include the Lydmouth series, the Roth Trilogy and historical novels such as the number-one best-selling The American Boy and The Ashes of London. His accolades include the Diamond Dagger, Britain's top crime-writing award.
Minette Walters is an English crime writer.
John Creasey was an English crime writer, also writing science fiction, romance and western novels, who wrote more than six hundred novels using twenty-eight different pseudonyms.
Roger Jon Ellory is an English thriller writer.
Louise Welsh is an English-born author of short stories and psychological thrillers, resident in Glasgow, Scotland. She has also written three plays, an opera, edited volumes of prose and poetry, and contributed to journals and anthologies. In 2004, she received the Corine Literature Prize.
Allan Guthrie is a Scottish literary agent, author and editor of crime fiction. He was born in Orkney, but has lived in Edinburgh for most of his adult life. His first novel, Two-Way Split, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and it won the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2007. His second novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and a Gumshoe Award.
Maxim Jakubowski is a crime, erotic, science fiction and rock music writer and critic.
Margaret Murphy is a British crime writer.
Dissolution (2003) is a historical mystery novel by British author C. J. Sansom. It is Sansom's first published novel, and the first in the Matthew Shardlake Series. It was dramatised by BBC Radio 4 in 2012.
Steve Hamilton is one of the most acclaimed mystery writers in the world, and one of only two authors to win Edgars for both Best First Novel and Best Novel. His Alex McKnight series includes two New York Times notable books, and he’s put two recent titles on the New York Times bestseller list. He’s either won or received multiple nominations for virtually every other crime fiction award in the business, from the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award to the Anthony to the Barry to the Gumshoe. But it was his standalone The Lock Artist that made publishing history, his first book to win an Edgar for Best Novel, a CWA Steel Dagger for Best Thriller in the UK, and an Alex Award – which is given out by the American Library Association to those books that successfully cross over from the adult market and appeal to young adult readers. The Lock Artist has been translated into seventeen different languages, and was an especially strong seller in Japan, where it was voted the number one translated crime novel of 2012 by both the annual Kono Mystery Ga Sugoi guide and by Weekly Bunshun magazine.
Kenneth Martin Edwards is a British crime novelist, whose work has won awards in the UK and the United States. As a crime fiction critic and historian, and also in his career as a solicitor, he has written non-fiction books and many articles. He is the current President of the Detection Club and in 2020 was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in British crime writing, in recognition of the ‘sustained excellence’ of his work in the genre.
Liza Cody, is an English crime fiction writer.
Adrian McKinty is a Northern Irish writer of crime and mystery novels and young adult fiction, best known for his 2020 award-winning thriller, The Chain, and the Sean Duffy novels set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. He is a winner of the Edgar Award, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, the Macavity Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Barry Award, the Audie Award, the Anthony Award and the International Thriller Writers Award. He has been shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière.
Johan Theorin is a journalist and author, born in 1963 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Throughout his life, Johan Theorin has been a regular visitor to the island of Öland in the Baltic sea. His mother’s family–sailors, fishermen and stone cutters–have lived there for centuries, nurturing the island’s legacy of supernatural tales and folklore.
Louise Emma Joseph, professionally known as Dreda Say Mitchell MBE is a British novelist, broadcaster, journalist and freelance education consultant.