The CWA Dagger in the Library, 2013

Sponsor: Dead Good, The Random House Group

Prize: £1500

Thirteen in the running for Dagger in the Library

The judging panel for this year’s Dagger in the Library Award are pleased to announce the longlist for the 2013 award. Mobeena Khan, who chairs the judges, said “We have been thrilled with the response and the nominations we have received from libraries up, down and across the country and have been knee deep in books since January. As ever, the selection process proved tough and there was much discussion before we arrived at our chosen longlist. We are all eagerly reading on for the shortlisting process and are thrilled to see some new names as well as some familiar ones on this year’s list.”

The thirteen authors in contention this year are Belinda Bauer, Alison Bruce, S.J. Bolton, Peter May, Gordon Ferris, Tania Carver, Elly Griffiths, Christopher Fowler, Michael Ridpath, Jane Casey, Phil Rickman, Alex Gray and Frances Brody. The shortlist will be announced at Crimefest on 31st May, with the eventual winner being revealed at the Daggers Gala Dinner on 15th July. More information on the 2013 Daggers in the Library page.

Welcome from the Dagger in the Library award panel! We bid a fond farewell to two members of our 2012 panel, Cheney Gardner and John Martin and say hello to two new members for 2013, Jennifer Stewart and Stewart Bain.

Nominations for this award closed on 1 April 2013. This award is unique in that it is the only award that is nominated exclusively by library users, readers and librarians. You really do get to decide who gets onto the shortlist. Go along to your local library and nominate your favourite author and why not check out what other crime books they have in stock whilst you are there? Who knows what you might discover…

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors Dead Good, this year for the first time people were able to nominate their favourite authors online, and have the chance of winning £200 worth of books from Random House Publishers.

The panel is looking forward to reviewing your nominations and re-acquainting ourselves with some old friends and discovering some new ones.

Authors like Val McDermid and Ian Rankin are well-known amongst the readers of crime fiction but, beneath the top rank of bestsellers are a host of writers, some new and some who have built loyal followings over the years but who have never quite broken through. It is to give a boost to these authors that the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library Award exists. The award is kindly sponsored by Dead Good, an online crime community established by The Random House Group. The Dagger is awarded to a writer nominated by library users and chosen by a panel of librarians, all of whom work with the public. This year’s panel is chaired by Mobeena Khan, Stock & Reader Development Librarian for Hertfordshire Libraries, and includes librarians from throughout the UK.

Unlike most other literary prizes, the Dagger in the Library is awarded not for an individual book but for the author’s body of work. Last year’s winner was Steve Mosby, and previous winners have included Mo Hayder, Colin Cotterill, Stuart MacBride and Craig Russell; whilst Lesley Horton and C J Sansom have been Highly Commended.

The nominated authors must be alive, preferably working in Britain and cannot have won the award before. As the award is for a body of work, authors should have published at least three books. Entries from reading groups or individuals are submitted through libraries. Nomination forms may be downloaded by clicking the links at the top of the right-hand column.


Mobeena Khan (chair) 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.

Stewart Bain has spent a decade working at Orkney Library & Archive, which has kept people in the isles reading since 1683. He does Reader Development at the library and is responsible for the award-winning @OrkneyLibrary Twitter feed. He helps run the Monday Night Murders crime reading group and is determined to stop procrastinating and finish his Open University Literature degree at some point in the not-too-distant future. Likes biscuits.

Karen Fraser (Past Chair) is Executive Manager of Shetland Library, Britain's most northerly library service. She likes to spend the long dark winters immersed in the foulest depths of the crime writers' art.

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.

Jennifer Stewart is a Service Development Librarian with Fife Cultural Trust, and has worked in public libraries for over twenty years, passing on her passion for reading to anyone who is willing to listen! She is regularly to be found mixing with all sorts of criminal types via the pages of a book, and loves discovering new crime writers.

Sue Wilkinson has worked in public libraries for 36 years and is Reader Development Officer for Birmingham Libraries. Before taking up this post, she was a prison librarian for many years. Having spent a lot of time with the real thing, she finds crime fiction much more entertaining, and is looking forward to discovering new writers and crime genres.