Mo Hayder

Photo copyright © Kate Butler

Mo Hayder wins the CWA Dagger in the Library, 2011

Sponsor: The Random House Group

Prize: £1500, plus £300 to a participating library’s readers’ group

Harrogate, 22 July: Mo Hayder was this evening named as winner of the 2011 CWA Dagger in the Library, at the CWA Awards Ceremony during the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. The judges praised her “Twisting, hard-hitting crime novels with a haunting emotional pull on the reader”, adding “Damaged detective Jack Caffery and police diver Flea Marley are one of the best pairings in current crime writing with each story leaving fans clamouring for more.”

After leaving school at fifteen, Mo Hayder worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She has an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University, where she now teaches.

She is the author of Birdman, The Treatment, which won the 2001 WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award, Tokyo which was shortlisted for the CWA Gold and Silver Dagger Awards for Novels of the Year, 2004, and Pig Island.

Mo Hayder is published by Bantam. Her web site is

There were five other authors on the shortlist for this coveted Dagger. They were SJ Bolton (Bantam Press, Transworld), RJ Ellory (Orion), Jason Goodwin (Faber & Faber), Susan Hill (Vintage) and Philip Kerr (Quercus). Here is some more information about them:

S.J. Bolton

S.J. Bolton

Judges’ comments: ‘Fast-paced, lurid page turners that you simply can’t put down. Splendidly warped and macabre stories with larger than life characters that grip and don't let go till the end.’

S.J. Bolton was born in Lancashire. She lives near Oxford with her husband and young son.

She has four books to her name: Now You See Me, Blood Harvest (Shortlisted for the 2010 CWA Gold Dagger), Awakening and Sacrifice.

She is published by Bantam Press, Transworld and her website is

R.J. Ellory

R.J. Ellory

Judges’ comments: ‘He writes American style fiction better than the Americans, with each one different from the last. A master at creating whole new casts of characters and engaging the reader's emotions in the story. ’

R.J. Ellory started writing more than twelve years ago and hasn’t stopped since. His novels include the bestselling A Quiet Belief In Angels, which was a Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2008, and both City of Lies and Candlemoth were shortlisted for CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2007 and 2003 respectively. He is married with one son, and lives in England.

His publisher is Orion and his web site is

Jason Goodwin

Jason Goodwin

Judges’ comments: ‘Yashim the Eunuch is a great new addition to the pool of crime fiction detectives, and one who will inspire great affection in readers. The historical setting springs to life almost as another character and the stories are well plotted and satisfying reads.’

Jason Goodwin studied Byzantine history at Cambridge University. Fifteen years ago he made a six-month pilgrimage across Eastern Europe to Istanbul, a journey recounted in On Foot to the Golden Horn, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize in 1993.

His first Yashim novel, The Janissary Tree, became an international bestseller when it was published in 2006. It was shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Historical Award and won the Edgar Allen Poe Best Novel Award in 2007. The Yashim mysteries, which include The Snake Stone (again shortlisted for the Ellis Peters) and The Bellini Card, have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Jason Goodwin is published by Faber & Faber and his website is

Susan Hill

Susan Hill

Judges’ comments: ‘Beautifully written, lyrical tales following not just the detective but his family and immediate circle as well. Each book leaves the reader better aquainted with her beguiling world and less and less willing to leave it. ’

Susan Hill is a prize-winning novelist, having been awarded the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewelyn Rhys awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She wrote Mrs de Winter, the bestselling sequel to Rebecca, and the ghost story The Woman in Black, which became a West End stage success. Her books include the highly successful crime novel series about the detective Simon Serrailler. Susan Hill lives in Gloucestershire, where she runs her own small publishing firm, Long Barn Books.

Susan Hill is published by Vintage and her website is

The photograph of Susan Hill is by Ben Graville.

Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr

Judges’ comments: ‘Bernie Gunther is the original hard-boiled cop; his time in the SS makes him a somewhat morally ambiguous but likeable character which adds an extra dimension to some intricately plotted stories. The historical details are meticulously researched. ’

Philip Kerr was born in Edinburgh but now lives in London and in Cornwall. He is the author of more than 20 books, including seven Bernie Gunther novels, several standalone thrillers, and six books in the young-adult series Children of the Lamp under the pen name of P.B. Kerr. If the Dead Rise Not won both the 2009 Ellis Peters Historical Award and the €125,000 RBA international prize for crime writing.

Philip Kerr is published by Quercus and his website is

About the Dagger

The CWA Dagger in the Library is sponsored by The Random House Group.

Authors are nominated by UK libraries and Readers’ Groups and judged by a panel of librarians, all of whom work with the public. The Dagger is awarded to an author for a body of work, rather than a single title. As well as the Dagger, the winning author receives a cheque for £1500. Groups nominating the winning author will be entered into a draw for £300 to be spent on books.

As before, all groups whose nominated authors are shortlisted are entered into a draw for two tickets to the prestigious Dagger Awards ceremony.


Cheney Gardner (Chair) is the Reader and Community Services Manager at the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. She has worked in public libraries for about 8 years, many of them spent happily supporting reading groups and promoting reading. She is an avid reader herself and loves a good mystery.

Karen Fraser (Vice-Chair) is Customer Service Librarian with Shetland Library, Britain's most northerly library service. She has reading tastes as wide as her mood swings, but likes to spend the long dark winters immersed in the foulest depths of the crime writer’s art.

Mobeena Khan is a Stock and Reader Development Librarian for Hertfordshire Libraries.  The first crime book she remembers reading was 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' when she was eight.  She hasn't stopped reading crime fiction since.  And still loves Sherlock Holmes.

John Martin is a veteran librarian, patrolling the mean streets of Leicestershire upholding the good name of crime fiction against literary gangsters, saga writers and the hidden underworld of The Booker Prize.

Helen McNabb is the stock manager for the Vale of Glamorgan libraries. She has been working in public libraries for 19 years, and is a keen reader enjoying crime, science fiction and non fiction, and enjoys having new writers suggested by the nominations for the Dagger in the Library

Deborah Ryan currently works at RNIB's National Library Service where she manages a team who help blind and partially sighted readers to get the best out of the meagre 5% of books published in accessible formats. She enjoys a good old-fashioned whodunnit but has discovered new and exciting crime genres while being a Dagger judge.