2020 CWA DAGGER Short List Announced! #PressRelease @nholten40 @the_cwa

CWA Dagger Awards 2020 Shortlists Announced

The 2020 shortlists for the prestigious CWA Dagger awards, which honour the very best in the crime writing genre, have been announced.

The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers are the oldest awards in the genre and have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

Mick Herron’s Joe Country, Claire Askew’s What You Pay For and Lou Berney’s November Road are all in contention for the CWA Gold Dagger, awarded to the best crime novel. November Road is also on the shortlist for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller, up against One Way Out by AA Dhand, Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan and the Richard and Judy pick The Whisper Man by Alex North.

Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “As the CWA Daggers are unmatched for their reputation and longevity, these shortlists offer a showcase of the finest writing in crime fiction and non-fiction. They reveal the remarkable variety and huge relevance of the genre, which continues to dominate book sales and to shape our cultural landscape.”

The much-anticipated John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger highlights the best debut novels. Among the six shortlisted debuts are Little White Lies by Philippa East, acclaimed as ‘unputdownable’, and Trevor Wood, who served in the Royal Navy for 16 years, makes the list with The Man on the Street, featuring a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, dubbed by Lee Child as ‘an instant classic’.

Abir Mukherjee’s Death in the East is not only shortlisted for the Gold Dagger but also the Sapere Books Historical Dagger. He contends with Metropolis, completed just before Philip Kerr’s untimely death and SG Maclean, who won the Dagger last year forDestroying Angel; she returns with The Bear Pit.

The Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger shortlist features Finland’s acclaimed and award-winning writer, Antti Tuomainen, with Little Siberia translated by David Hackston. The king of Helsinki noir is up against Marion Brunet, the winner of the prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature policière in 2018, whose novel Summer of Reckoning is translated by Katherine Gregor.

The CWA Daggers are one of the few high-profile awards that honour the short story.

Syd Moore, who was shortlisted in the category in 2019, returns with her short story “Easily Made” in 12 Strange Days of Christmas. Paul Finch, a former cop and journalist turned bestselling crime writer, sees his short story “The New Lad” (published in the anthology Exit Wounds) make the shortlist. They are up against established authors including Christopher Fowler, author of over fifty novels and short-story collections, and the blockbuster American mystery writer Jeffery Deaver, who won the Short Story Dagger in 2004.

The shortlist for the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction includes Casey Cep, a staff writer at the New York Times whose first book Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, has received acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Also on the shortlist is Caroline Goode for Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod. It’s the heart-breaking true story of Banaz Mahmod, the young Londoner murdered by her own family for falling in love with the wrong man, adapted for TV starring Keeley Hawes as Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode.

The Dagger in the Library is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries. This year’s shortlisted nominees are Christopher Brookmyre, Jane Casey, Alex Gray and Quintin Jardine.

One of the anticipated highlights of the awards is the Debut Dagger competition, open to unknown and uncontracted writers. Settings for the shortlisted novels are varied and range from modern-day America, rural Australia, an organic farm near Bern, 2011 Cuba, a contemporary offshore oil platform and sixteenth century Orkney.

This year also features the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, launched in 2019, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing.

The winners of the 2020 Daggers will be announced at an awards ceremony, due to take place on 22 October.

The Shortlists in Full:


Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton)

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)

John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown)

Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray)

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)

Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)


Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)

Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton)

AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press)

Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books)

David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ)

Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)


Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber)

Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph)

Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ)

Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze)

Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)


Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press)

Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction)

SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)

Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books)

Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable)


Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press)

Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)

K Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books)

Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable)

Sergio Olguín: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press)

Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)


Jeffery Deaver: The Bully in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Paul Finch: The New Lad in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Christopher Fowler: The Washing in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)

Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)

Louise Jensen: The Recipe in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)

Syd Moore: Easily Made in 12 Strange Days of Christmas (Point Blank Press)


Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann)

Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books)

Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod (Oneworld Publications)

Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury (Simon & Schuster)

Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books)

Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador)


Christopher Brookmyre

Jane Casey

Alex Gray

Quintin Jardine


Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife

Leanne Fry: Whipstick

Kim Hays: Pesticide

Nicholas Morrish: Emergency Drill

Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies

Michael Munro: Bitter Lake


Bitter Lemon Press

Harvill Secker

Head of Zeus


Michael Joseph


Raven Books

Severn House

Best of luck ☘️ To all!