2019 CWA Daggers Announced
M.W. Craven has won the CWA Gold Dagger for his novel The Puppet Show.
The Daggers, which were announced (24 October) at a glittering awards ceremony at the Grange City Hotel, London, are regarded by the publishing world as the foremost British awards for crime-writing.
The first in M.W. Craven’s Detective Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show drew critical acclaim from crime authors Martina Cole, Peter James and Mick Herron – who described it as a “thrilling curtain raiser”.
Past winners of the prestigious Gold Dagger, which is awarded for the crime novel of the year, include Ian Rankin, John le Carré, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell.
Craven, who lives in Carlisle, served in the armed forces and became a probation officer before crediting the CWA Debut Dagger competition in 2013 for opening the door for a career as an author.
The world-famous Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Daggers, which honour the very best in crime writing, are the oldest awards in the genre. Created in 1955, the CWA Daggers have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.
Linda Stratmann, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, said: “2019’s winners show the incredible range and quality of authors at work in the crime writing genre today. The Daggers recognise both established and emerging names, and we are incredibly proud of the reputation and longevity the Daggers have, nationally and internationally.”
Writer Barry Forshaw, MC for the Dagger Awards evening, added: “The Daggers are the ultimate celebration of the fact that crime fiction remains an evergreen area of modern publishing, with fresh trends continually appearing, and traditional forms undergoing constant reinvigoration.”
2019 CWA Daggers – The Winners
CWA Gold Dagger:
The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven (Constable / Little Brown)
CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger:
Scrublands by Chris Hammer (Wildfire)
CWA ALCS Gold Dagger For Non-Fiction:
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre: (Viking)
CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:
To The Lions by Holly Watt (Raven Books)
CWA International Dagger:
A Long Night in Paris, by Dov Alfon, tr Daniella Zamir (MacLehose Press)
CWA Sapere Books Historical Dagger:
Destroying Angel by S.G. MacLean (Quercus Fiction)
CWA Short Story Dagger:
‘The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing’ in The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing and other Fantastic Female Fables (Fantastic Books) by Danuta Kot writing as Danuta Reah
Highly commended: ‘I Detest Mozart’ by Teresa Solana in The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories by Teresa Solana (Bitter Lemon Press)
CWA Dagger in the Library:
CWA Debut Dagger:
Wake by Shelley Burr
Best Crime and Mystery Publisher:
Chris Hammer’s powerful debut Scrublands claimed the CWA John Creasey New Blood award. Hammer, a journalist for more than 30 years, set Scrublands in the scorched landscape of Australia, featuring his flawed protagonist, journalist and former foreign correspondent, Martin Scarsden. The Guardian said Hammer’s lyrical writing evoked a “profound sense of place.”
Ben Macintyre’s The Spy and the Traitor, a tale of betrayal, duplicity and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War, was awarded the CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. The No. 1 Sunday Times Bestseller reveals the dramatic role played by MI6 in recruiting and cultivating a serving KGB insider and was hailed by John Le Carré as “the best true spy story I have ever read.”
To The Lions by Holly Watt received the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.
Featuring a female journalist who stumbles upon a dark conspiracy, it was praised as a “first-rate Fleet Street novel” by the Sunday Times. Watt, an investigative journalist, has worked on MP’s Expenses and the Panama Papers and written for major broadsheets in the UK.
Israeli author Dov Alfon received the CWA International Dagger for A Long Night in Paris. A former intelligence officer of Unit 8200, the most secretive arm of the Israel Defence Forces, Alfon was also editor in chief of Israel’s most influential newspaper, Ha’aretz. A Long Night in Paris - his first work of fiction - was praised by the Financial Times for Alfon’s insider knowledge.
The CWA Sapere Books Historical Dagger went to S.G. MacLean for Destroying Angel, the third in her Seeker series. Set in 1655 in Yorkshire, the gripping historical thriller features Captain Damian Seeker from Oliver Cromwell’s handpicked guard. MacLean has an MA and PHD in History from the University of Aberdeen.
Danuta Kot, writing as Danuta Reah, received her second CWA Short Story Dagger for The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing. She last received the award in 2005.
The CWA Dagger in The Library went to Kate Ellis, who was previously shortlisted for the award in 2017. Ellis has sold over three-quarters of a million books worldwide, known for her Devon-set historical crime Wesley Peterson series and spooky DI Joe Plantagenet based in North Yorkshire. She beat stalwarts M C Beaton, Mark Billingham, John Connolly, C J Sansom and Cath Staincliffe for the Dagger which is voted on exclusively by librarians, chosen for the author’s body of work and support of libraries.
The Debut Dagger competition for unknown and un-contracted writers saw Australian author Shelley Burr win for her novel, Wake.
One of the UK’s most prominent societies for the promotion and promulgation of crime writing, 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.
2019 also saw the inaugural Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year go to No Exit Press. The first new Dagger category in over a decade celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing. No Exit Press is one of the UK’s leading independent publishers of crime fiction. Over its 30 years of business, it’s published numerous award-winning titles and prides itself on uncovering new talent.
On the night, Robert Goddard was also presented with the 2019 Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, the highest honour in British crime writing.