The oldest membership organisation for crime writers in the UK, the Crime Writers Association (CWA) have opened submissions for the 2025 Dagger awards. The CWA Daggers are one of the most inclusive genre awards, with categories for crime fiction in translation, short stories, and new authors, alongside the Gold Dagger for the novel of the year and Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller. The awards are renowned for highlighting quality crime writing and with two new categories, we crime readers are in for even more thrilling recommendations when this year's shortlists and winners are announced.

The two new Daggers were announced earlier this year. The CWA Twisted Dagger is open to psychological thrillers set in any period as well as suspense thrillers and domestic noir. This Dagger will celebrate all that's dark and twisted in crime writing, with gripping, twisted plots, unreliable narrators and undoubtedly a sting in their tail. 

Books that are eligible for the CWA Whodunnit Dagger will include cosy crime, modern cosy crime included, as well as traditional crime and Golden Age Mysteries. This new award will celebrate the intellectual challenge at the heart of a good mystery as well as the quirky characters so often a part of these storylines. 

The Twisted and Whodunnit Dagger aren't the only change for this year's awards. The John Creasey New Blood and the Debut Dagger have also had a refresh. These awards have been renamed, the former now called the John Creasey First Novel Dagger and the latter now the Emerging Author Dagger. 

Vaseem Khan, Chair of the CWA, said: “It’s always exciting when the Daggers open for submission, knowing that the very best books in the genre will shortly be winging their way to our independent judging panels. This year is extra special. Expanding the Daggers was one of my pledges as chair. The new Daggers recognise two subgenres that have grown to dominate the publishing landscape in recent years and I, for one, am excited to see who the first recipients of these Daggers will be. And in terms of refreshing the titles of the John Creasey New Blood and Debut Daggers – that was simply rectifying a longstanding point of confusion. The John Creasey First Novel Dagger is for a full-length debut novel while the Emerging Author Dagger is for early chapters of a work by an unpublished, unagented author.”

Crime fiction is not the most popular genre in publishing and with the prominence of recent cosy crime releases and the continued popularity of crime fiction more broadly, this trend is showing no signs of abating. It's the CWA's mission to promote the genre and act as a voice for the interests of its author members. These expanded Dagger Awards will only help the association to get more high-quality crime writing in front of readers. 

Submission guidelines for the 2025 Daggers are now live on the CWA website. The longlist will be announced at the CWA annual conference on the 20th April with the shortlist announcement following on the 10th May at the UK's biggest crime convention, CrimeFest. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in the summer. 

Don't want to wait until then to pick up a griping new crime read? Take a look at last year's winners here. Explore our crime collections, or browse the crime, thriller and political thriller genres here.