June has been a fantastic month for crime fiction readers and writers! I’m delighted to be sharing the news about the winners of the CWA Dagger awards as well as an update on the success of the National Crime Reading Month campaign today in case anyone has missed it!
First let’s celebrate the CWA Dagger winners:
On the night, the previous two winners of the Diamond Dagger, Martina Cole in 2021 and Martin Edwards in 2020, were also celebrated after the hiatus of the pandemic.
The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner at the Leonardo City Hotel on Cooper’s Row in London on Wednesday 29 June. The ceremony was compered by genre expert and author, Barry Forshaw, and bestselling author Victoria Selman. CWA Booksellers Champion and bestselling author Elly Griffiths was the after-dinner speaker.
Maxim said: “It’s always an honour to be part of the annual Dagger awards. This year feels extra special as it’s the first time we’ve gathered to celebrate the best in crime writing since 2019. I’d like to congratulate not only all the winners, but also all those shortlisted. It’s a terrific achievement.”
One of the UK’s most prominent societies, the CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey; the awards started in 1955 with its first award going to Winston Graham, best known for Poldark.
Dagger Winners 2022
CWA GOLD DAGGER
Sunset Swing, Ray Celestin (Macmillan; Mantle)
CWA IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER
Dead Ground, MW Craven (Little, Brown; Constable)
CWA JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER
The Appeal, Janice Hallett (Profile Books; Viper Books)
CWA HISTORICAL DAGGER
Sunset Swing, Ray Celestin (Pan Macmillan; Mantle)
CWA ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION
The Disappearance of Lydia Harvey: A True Story of Sex, Crime and the Meaning of Justice, Julia Laite (Profile Books)
CWA CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER sponsored in honour of Dolores Jakubowski
Hotel Cartagena, Simone Buchholz and translated by Rachel Ward (Orenda Books)
CWA SHORT STORY DAGGER
‘Flesh of a Fancy Woman’ by Paul Magrs in Criminal Pursuits: Crime Through Time edited by Samantha Lee Howe (Telos Publishing)
CWA DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY
CWA PUBLISHERS DAGGER
Faber & Faber
CWA DEBUT DAGGER sponsored by ProWritingAid
The 10:12 by Anna Maloney
THE CWA RED HERRING for services to crime writing and the CWA
In memory of Thalia Proctor
Did you #pickupapageturner this month for #NCRM? How about we celebrate its success:
Crime Pays in National Crime Reading Month
National Crime Reading Month (NCRM), has been hailed as the biggest campaign to date, as over 100 crime fiction events were hosted across the UK this June.
Ambassadors of NCRM include giants of the genre Ian Rankin, Anthony Horowitz and L J Ross, who helped amplify the campaign in the media reaching an online audience of over 80 million; features ran in the Telegraph and across BBC radio, with a Twitter campaign #PickUpAPageTurner.
The successful month coincides with the news that the genre dominates Amazon book sales.
Amazon announced Lee Child’s Jack Reacher titles are the bestselling book series of all time, followed by self-published author L J Ross, the Roy Grace books by Peter James, and the Detective Kim Stone Crime thrillers by Angela Marsons. Harry Potter books came in fifth.
The major initiative by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA), ran in partnership with the charity, The Reading Agency, to get the nation reading. NCRM culminated in the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards, announced on 29 June.
The campaign was led by CWA board member and NCRM director, the bestselling crime writer, Sam Blake.
Sam said: “After flagship launch events in London, Dublin and Cork, NCRM was embraced online and off by libraries, bookshops, bloggers, writers and readers. It shows the incredible appetite for this genre, and the positive role it can play in encouraging reading. Ensuring accessibility and inclusivity was a touchstone of the project, and online events, podcasts and interviews are still available on the NCRM website.”
One in six adults in the UK struggle with reading and one in three adults do not regularly read for pleasure. England ranks 23rd out of 23 OECD nations for literacy level amongst 16–19-year-olds, and studies have shown that those who do read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations.
A number of crime authors feature in The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads series, including NCRM ambassadors, the authors MW Craven and Vaseem Khan.
Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said: “National Crime Reading Month is all about bringing new books to readers and new readers to pacy exciting books that will keep them reading.”
Appointing regional ambassadors across the UK, to support the CWA’s own bookshop and library ambassadors, ensured that events ran from Cornwall to Scotland, as well as in Ireland, north and south.
Ambassadors include authors Steve Cavanagh, MW Craven, Elly Griffiths, Alis Hawkins, Anthony Horowitz, Vaseem Khan, Nadine Matheson, Louise Phillips, Ian Rankin, LJ Ross, Robin Stevens and Sarah Ward.
Sam added: “As our ambassador Anthony Horowitz, who has written over 40 books including the bestselling Alex Rider teen spy series, said: ‘National Crime Reading Month is a great idea. Really there should be twelve of them a year.’”