Gillian Flynn and Philip Gooden

The CWA New Blood Fiction Dagger 2007

Gillian Flynn wins with Sharp Objects

Newcomer Gillian Flynn has won the 2007 New Blood Fiction Dagger, for the best first book by a previously unpublished writer. She was presented with her Dagger and a cheque for £1000 prize money by Jan Paterson, Publishing Director of sponsor BBC Audiobooks. Gillian Flynn also won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger.

This year, the CWA and Duncan Lawrie Dagger Awards were presented at a black tie dinner at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane in London, in the presence of the guest of honour Bob Marshall-Andrews, QC, MP. The event began with a drinks reception at 6:30pm, followed by dinner in the ballroom at 7:45pm, before the winners were announced.

Gillian Flynn comes from Kansas City, the daughter of a Film Professor and a reading teacher. Given this background, it’s perhaps not surprising that she has ended up as chief TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, and that she covered films for the same magazine prior to that. This has led to her meeting a variety of stars, and visiting film sets. However, she has also had some less glamorous journalistic jobs, such as working for the trade journal Workforce.

She’s a graduate of the University of Kansas, and has a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She first acquired a love of mystery novels by reading Agatha Christie. Gillian Flynn lives in Chicago, where she is writing her second novel.

Sharp Objects

Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects

Weidenfeld & Nicolson

When two girls, aged nine and ten are abducted and killed in Wind Gap, Missouri, Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to investigate and report on the crimes. Camille is the daughter of one of the richest families in town. Haunted by a childhood tragedy and long estranged from her mother, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family's Victorian mansion, reacquainting herself with her mother and the half-sister she barely knows, a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town and surrounds herself with a group of vampish teenage girls.

As Camille struggles to remain detached from the evidence, her relationship with her neurotic, hypochondriac mother threatens to topple her hard-won mental stability. Working alongside the police chief and a special agent from out of town, Camille tries to uncover the mystery of who killed these little girls and why. But there are deeper psychological puzzles: Why does Camille identify so strongly with the dead girls? And how is this connected to the death of another sister years earlier?

Judges’ comments:
‘This was a novel characterized by its vivid and poetic writing. A superb sense of character with an imaginative treatment of the reasons for and the problems of self-harm.’

The judges remarked on the interesting, well written novels they had read. There was a great deal to enjoy on the list. The other shortlisted authors are listed below. See the shortlists page for more information about them.

C.J. Emerson - Objects of Desire - Allison & Busby
Declan Hughes - The Wrong Kind of Blood - John Murray
Brian McGilloway - Borderlands - Macmillan New Writing
Andrew Pepper - Last Days of Newgate - Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Camilla Way - Dead of Summer - HarperCollins


Chair: Marion Arnott - short story writer, winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger, 2001 and shortlisted twice

Dreda Say Mitchell - winner of the 2005 CWA John Creasey Dagger

Peter Walker - who also writes as Nicholas Rhea, author of the Heartbeat series