Walter Mosley is the 2023 recipient of the highest honour in crime writing, the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Diamond Dagger.
The CWA Daggers are now regarded by the publishing world as the foremost awards hosted in Britain for crime writing. Mosley receives the award in the CWA’s 70th Jubilee year; the CWA was founded in 1953.
The Diamond Dagger recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.
One of the most versatile and admired writers in America, Walter Mosley was born and raised in Los Angeles, and now lives in Brooklyn and LA.
Walter Mosley is the author of more than 60 critically acclaimed books, that cover a wide range of genres. His work has been translated into 25 languages.
He brought a cast of crime fiction characters into the American canon with his first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, featuring private detective, Easy Rawlins. Several of his books have been adapted for screen, including Devil in a Blue Dress starring Denzel Washington, the HBO production of Always Outnumbered, starring Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Cole, and Apple TV+’s production of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey starring Samuel Jackson.
Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said: “I am truly delighted my friend Walter has been deemed worthy of the Diamond Dagger by my colleagues and members of the CWA. His voice has dominated the fiction scene for decades and I can think of no more deserving and ground-breaking an author to be given this ultimate accolade, for the so many things he has contributed to our genre but also to modern society.”
A multi-award-winning author, Mosley was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame in 2013. His numerous awards include The Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy, and a PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, he was named the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and the National Book Foundation presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
The CWA Diamond Dagger is selected from nominations provided by CWA members.
Walter Mosley joins icons of the genre who have been recognised with the accolade, Ruth Rendell, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Ian Rankin, PD James, Colin Dexter, Reginald Hill, Peter Lovesey, John Le Carré, Martina Cole, Michael Connelly, Elmore Leonard, Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, Eric Ambler, Ed McBain and CJ Sansom.
Walter Mosley said: “At the beginning of my writing career I was fortunate enough to be awarded the CWA’s New Blood Dagger, otherwise called the John Creasey Award. That was the highest point of my experience as a first book author. Since then, I have picked up other honours along the way but the only award that comes near the Diamond Dagger is the MWA’s Grand Master nod. These two together make the apex of a career that I never expected.”
Celia Killen, Walter Mosley’s editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, said: “With over sixty books published, numerous bestsellers and multiple awards, Walter Mosley is a master storyteller and a true icon of crime writing. His career has been characterised not only by creative excellence, but by significant contribution to the publishing landscape, notably establishing The Publishing Certificate Program to encourage diversity in all levels of the industry. In 2020, the National Book Foundation presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. We are incredibly proud to publish Walter and thrilled that his brilliant work is being recognised with this year’s CWA Diamond Dagger.”
One of the UK’s most prominent societies, the CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey. As the oldest awards in the genre, they have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century. Its awards started in 1955, with its first award going to Winston Graham, best known for Poldark.
The Diamond Dagger is announced before the annual CWA Dagger Awards, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the crime genre’, due to take place on July 6th at a glittering gala evening.