Ann Cleeves

The CWA Dagger Awards 2006


JUNE 29 2006
The Crime Writers’ Association awarded this year’s Daggers - the prestigious awards that celebrate the very best in crime and thriller writing in 2006 - at a black tie dinner this evening at the Waldorf Hilton, in London's Aldwych. Guest of honour was James Naughtie.

This year is particularly exciting with the birth of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger – formerly the CWA Gold Dagger for Fiction – with a prize of £20,000. This is now the largest award for crime fiction in the world. Ann Cleeves is the winner for her novel Raven Black.

Duncan Lawrie Private Bank are also sponsoring the newly-formed Duncan Lawrie International Dagger for the best crime novel translated into English. Fred Vargas has won the £5000 prize, with £1000 going to her translator, Siân Reynolds.

For the third year, the CWA has continued its partnership with the National Library for the Blind to promote their activities and help to raise funds. Once again, the Foyle Foundation has provided finance which will enable all the winning books in the Dagger Awards to be converted into Braille. As was proved by this year's Public Lending Right figures, crime writing is now the most popular fiction genre in the UK, and the CWA is particularly pleased to be a part of bringing it to a wider audience in this manner.

In all, seven daggers were awarded on the night. Here's a full list, with the judges' comments about each. The name of each dagger is linked to a page with more details about that award.

Duncan Lawrie Dagger

For the best crime novel of the year, carrying a prize of £20,000 sponsored by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank.

Ann Cleeves - Raven Black (Macmillan)
“Superb sense of place. A depiction of an enclosed community with modern and entrenched values constantly competing. A thrilling read.”

Duncan Lawrie International Dagger

For the best crime novel translated into English, with £5000 going to the author and £1000 to the translator.

Fred Vargas - The Three Evangelists (Harvill), translated by Siân Reynolds
“...A splendid example of French originality, with terrific narrative drive and a very good mystery, too.”

The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

The dagger and £2000 prize money are awarded for the best adventure/thriller novel in the vein of James Bond. Sponsored by by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.

Nick Stone - Mr Clarinet (Penguin)
“A tour de force with brilliantly described scenes, this is taut, compelling and well-plotted, with emotional commitment, freshness and originality.”

The CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

The dagger and prize of £2000 are sponsored by the membership of the CWA and awarded this and every even-numbered year.

Linda Rhodes, Lee Shelden and Kathryn Abnett - The Dagenham Murder (The Borough of Barking and Dagenham)
“A definitive account of the notorious murder of a Victorian policeman. Extensively researched and well written.”

The CWA New Blood Dagger

Awarded in memory of CWA founder John Creasey, this dagger for first books by previously unpublished writers is sponsored by BBC Audiobooks and carries a prize of £1000.

Louise Penny - Still Life (Headline)
“An old-fashioned mystery featuring well-rounded appealing characters and a gentle pace with unexpected savagery.”

The CWA Dagger in the Library

This Dagger, sponsored by Random House and worth £1500, is awarded to "the author of crime fiction whose work is currently giving the greatest enjoyment to readers"; authors are nominated by UK libraries and Readers' Groups and judged by a panel of librarians.

Jim Kelly
“His books are described as "great reads" and "treats" – the characters are sympathetic and believable, their relationships with each other and with that moody Fen landscape developing in a way that make the books special. The books are easy to read yet not lightweight, with complex plots which engage the reader's interest”

Lesley Horton was highly commended in this category.

The Debut Dagger

The Debut Dagger, sponsored by Orion, is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. The winner receives a £500 cash prize plus a night for two at the Waldorf Hilton, London after the prize-giving Dinner.

Otis Twelve – the pseudonym of US writer D V Wesselmann – is this year's winner with Imp: Being the Lost Notebooks of Rufus Wilmot Griswold In the Matter of the Death of Edgar Allan Poe.
“A very distinctive and ambitious entry. There's a lot to like here - an excellent gothic setting and atmosphere – and an interesting balance between whimsy and horror.”

Other awards

The Cartier Diamond Dagger

The Crime Writers’ Association has awarded its Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2006 to the highly respected American novelist, Elmore Leonard.

He said of this award: “This is great news, by far the best kind of achievement award, to be recognised by fellow writers for the one thing I have ever wanted to do in my life, tell stories, what I've been doing for the past 55 years. I see the Diamond Dagger giving me a boost of energy, telling me to make the book I'm writing now the best one yet.”

The CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award

Edward Wright has won this prestigious prize for the best historical crime novel of 2006 &ndash with Red Sky Lament, the third in the John Ray Horn series. He was presented with the award and a £3000 cheque by Sir Bernard Ingham at a champagne reception on the evening of Monday 9th October.

The CWA Short Story Award

On 18th October, at the South Yorkshire Off The Shelf festival in Sheffield, Robert Barnard beat the competition to take the £1500 Short Story Award with Sins of Scarlet in the CWA anthology edited by Martin Edwards, ID: Crimes of Identity, published by Comma Press. The story was commended by the judges as: “The ultimate in locked room murders, set in the Sistine Chapel during an election of a Pope.”

The Fish-Knife short story award

The Crime Writers’ Association has joined with Fish Publishing of County Cork to promote a new crime-based short story competition: the Fish-Knife Award. The competition has a first prize of €1,500 plus publication as the title story in the 2007 Fish-Knife Anthology.

The CWA is giving its enthusiastic backing to this new venture. There are few outlets for short stories these days and Fish have a track record of publishing short story anthologies to a high standard. This link-up between the CWA and Fish Publishing is very good news.