Looking Sharp: Announcing the 2021 CWA Dagger Award Winners

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Megan Mabee


Megan Mabee has been filling notebooks with her story ideas and favorite book quotes since she first began reading. She enjoys board gaming, rewatching Miyazaki movies, and building Legos with her preschooler. Megan holds a Master of Library and Information Studies degree from UNC Greensboro and a Public Librarian Certification. Megan has worked in a college bookstore and high school library, and she now loves talking books in the public library where she works and as a Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations.

The votes have been cast, and the 2021 CWA Dagger Award Winners have been chosen. These 11 prestigious Daggers are the United Kingdom’s leading literary crime-writing awards. Founded in 1953 by John Creasey, the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) aspires to support the crime genre, celebrating crime writers in both fiction and nonfiction. This year, the 2021 CWA Dagger Award Winners were announced on Thursday, July 1, at Daggers Live, an online awards ceremony.

Of the 11 Daggers awarded, seven are nominated by publishers and are judged by professionals from the industry rather than the CWA itself. The four remaining daggers — including the Diamond Dagger, the Debut Dagger, the Publishers’ Dagger, and the Dagger in the Library — are nominated by parties that are not publishers. So, without further ado, check out these 2021 CWA Dagger Award Winners!

2021 CWA Dagger Award Winners

Diamond Dagger

Martina Cole

This most esteemed dagger commemorates a writer for a lifetime contribution to crime writing.

Gold Dagger

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Highly Commended:

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

House of Correction by Nicci French

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

When She Was Good by Michael Robotham

John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, translated by Victoria Cribb

Sapere Books Historical Dagger

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan

Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler

Short Story Dagger

“Monsters” by Clare Mackintosh in First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books

ALCS Gold Dagger For Non-Fiction

Written in Bone by Sue Black

Debut Dagger

Deception by Hannah Redding

Highly Commended:

Underwater by Fiona McPhillips

Dagger in the Library

Peter May

Publishers’ Dagger

Head of Zeus

Margery Allingham Short Story Competition

“Heartbridge Homicides” by Camilla Macpherson

That’s a Wrap!

Interested in more Dagger Award Winners? Check out the award winners archive here. Looking ahead to the 2022 nominees? Titles are being reviewed now! Books with publication dates from January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021 have a closing nomination date of July 31, and nominations for books published between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 will be accepted through November 15, 2021.

For more award winners, check out these 2021 Pulitzer Prize Winners!