2020 CWA Dagger Award winners

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Lou Berney, Abir Mukherjee and Michal Robotham were among the authors winning 2020 Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger Awards this week during a live virtual ceremony hosted by British crime writer and reviewer Barry Forshaw.

Since 1955, the Dagger Awards have celebrated the best in crime and thriller writing. The 2020 winners are as follows.

  • The Diamond Dagger: Martin Edwards, an award-winning crime novelist who created the Harry Devlin, Lake District and Rachel Savernake crime series.
  • The Gold Dagger for best crime novel: GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL by Michael Robotham. this book features forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven. An Australian-born journalist, ghost writer and novelist, Robotham won the 2015 Gold Dagger for LIFE OR DEATH.
  • The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller: NOVEMBER ROAD by Lou Berney. This is a poignant story of an impossible romance set against the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Berney, an American, has won numerous awards, including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Barry and Oklahoma Book Awards. This year, he was also listed as “Highly Commended” in the CWA Gold Dagger category.
  • The John Creasey New Blood Dagger: THE MAN ON THE STREET by Trevor Wood.  this story is about a homeless veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Wood, a journalist and playwright, served in the Royal Navy 16 years.
  • The Sapere Books Historical Dagger: DEATH IN THE EAST by Abir Mukherjee. The fourth book in Mukherjee’s Sam Syndham series, this novel like its predecessors explores the legacy of British colonialism in India. Once an accountant, Mukherjee was inspired to write after hearing novelist Lee Child say in a television interview that he began writing at age 40.
  • Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger: THE GODMOTHER by Hannelore Cayre; translated by Stephanie Smee. Cayre is an award-winning French novelist, screenwriter, director and practicing criminal lawyer. Smee, who has also worked as a lawyer, lives in Sydney and specializes in French to English translation. THE GODMOTHER has been made into a movie starring Isabelle Huppert.
  • The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction: FURIOUS HOURS: MURDER, FRAUD, AND THE LAST TRIAL OF HARPER LEE by Casey Cep. Cep is a staff writer at the New York Times. The book was an instant New York Times bestseller and a Barack Obama Book of the Year.
  • Short Story Dagger: “#Me Too” by Lauren Henderson in INVISIBLE BLOOD.
  • Dagger in the Library: Christopher Brookmyre. This award is voted on exclusively by librarians and honors an author’s body of work and support for libraries. Brookmyre is a Scottish journalist and novelist who mixes comedy, politics and social comment in his novels.
  • The Debut Dagger: REVOLUTION NEVER LIES by Josephine Molds. This award goes to unknown writers without agents or publishing contracts. It is designed to help unpublished writers when representation and a publisher. The runner-up for this award was Ann Caig’s THE SPAE-WIFE.
  • The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger: Orenda Books, a London-based publisher established in 2014 by Karen Sullivan.

CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasy. Dagger Awards are considered to be the foremost British awards for crime-writing.


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