Eileen Roberts and Andrew Martin

Eileen Roberts and Andrew Martin, photo © 2011 Mike Stotter

Andrew Martin wins the CWA Ellis Peters Award

November 30th: Andrew Martin was today announced as the winner of the 2011 Ellis Peters Historical Award for The Somme Stations, published by Faber and Faber, a dark tale of wartime intrigue. Chair of judges Eileen Roberts presented him with the prestigious award, and a cheque for £3,000, at a ceremony at the Athenaeum in London.

The judging panel said of The Somme Stations: “Martin’s novels featuring railway detective Jim Stringer reveal their treasures in subtle fashion with a winning synthesis of period atmosphere, intriguing plotting and a passion for steam railways.”

More information on the 2011 Ellis Peters Historical Award page.

Steve Hamilton, Tom Franklin and S.J. Watson

Dagger winners: left to right Steve Hamilton, Tom Franklin and S.J. Watson.

The CWA Gold, Ian Fleming (Steel) and John Creasey Dagger winners

Friday 7th October: the winners of the last three CWA Daggers were revealed at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards held this evening at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. You can watch the ceremony next Tuesday, 11th October, on ITV3, along with the Film and TV Daggers.

The winners are:
The CWA Gold Dagger: Tom Franklin Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (Macmillan)
The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: Steve Hamilton The Lock Artist (Orion)
The CWA John Creasey Dagger: S.J. Watson Before I Go To Sleep (Doubleday)

Peter James, Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, commented: “Judging an award is not only subjective it is a daunting, and very onerous task. It was especially so this year as the quality of the entries for all the Daggers was quite exceptionally high, and every single one of those on the shortlists would have made a worthy winner. But those selected by the judges had, in their view, just that extra spark that lifted them above their competitors, and the writers are all quite exceptionally talented, raising our beloved genre to new heights of quality in the literary world.”

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

CWA Gold Dagger winner Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was described by the judges as “A poignant suspense novel drenched in the languid atmosphere of small-town Mississippi where police investigate the murder of a local teenage girl.”

Larry and Silas, white and black, boyhood friends in rural Mississippi thirty years ago, are separated by an apparent crime that changes their lives. The novel explores fractured friendships and families as the legacy of racism, poverty, loneliness and misplaced suspicion from decades back.

More about the book on the CWA Gold Dagger page.

The Lock Artist

The judges said of The Lock Artist, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger winner, that “Steve Hamilton has real narrative flair, keeping two time schemes going and producing plenty of twists as well as a very sympathetic lead character who never utters a word throughout the novel.”

Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it’s a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an 800-pound safe… he can open them all.

More about the book on the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger page.

Before I Go To Sleep

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger is for first books by previously unpublished writers. Nevertheless S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep was also shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. The judges praised it as “A powerful and compelling suspense novel that explores the intricacies of the human mind.”

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust is only telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life.

More about the book on the CWA John Creasey Dagger page.

Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström

Author photo: Peter Knutson

Dagger winners announced at Harrogate

On 22 July the Crime Writers’ Association announced the winners of a number of this year’s Daggers – the prestigious awards that celebrate the very best in crime and thriller writing. The International Dagger has been won by by Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström (pictured above), with Three Seconds, translated by Kari Dickson and published by Quercus.

They sent a message to say “We would like to express our great thanks and delight at being awarded the CWA International Dagger prize last Friday for Three Seconds. It is a great honour and we are very sorry that we were not there to acknowledge this and our pride at having received a Dagger.”

Four other CWA Daggers were announced on the evening:
Non-Fiction Dagger: The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr
Dagger in the Library: Mo Hayder
Short Story dagger: Homework by Phil Lovesey
Debut Dagger: Michele Rowe for What Hidden Lies.

Click on the dagger names above for more information about the winners and the shortlisted books.

Over the years the number of CWA Daggers has increased (and occasionally decreased). Currently nine Daggers are awarded annually by the CWA, and these are listed in the sidebar on the right with links to the latest news about each. In addition the CWA/Ellis Peters Historical Award is given to the best historical novel of the year.

In 2009 the CWA teamed up with Cactus TV and ITV3 to create a mass media platform for the CWA Gold Dagger, Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. The winners of these three daggers are announced in the autumn as part of the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, which is broadcast on ITV3. In the run-up to the awards ceremony the contenders for each of these prestigious CWA Daggers are highlighted in a series of programmes. Crime writing is benefitting from this increased exposure and is reaching a new audience for what is already publishing’s most popular genre.

The winners of five other CWA Daggers – the International, Non-Fiction, Short Story, Library and Debut Daggers – are announced at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival held in Harrogate in July. The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger lifetime award is announced in the new year and presented in the spring at a prestigious London venue. The CWA / Ellis Peters award is presented in the autumn.

The books in contention for CWA Daggers have to have been first published in the UK in the year in question which, except for the Ellis Peters Award, runs from 1 June to 31 May. They are nominated by their publishers: authors and readers cannot make nominations.