Robotham and Wood triumph in 2020 CWA Dagger awards

Robotham and Wood triumph in 2020 CWA Dagger awards

This year's Crime Writers' Association Awards has seen Michael Robotham land the Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year, while Trevor Wood has been awarded the New Blood Dagger for best novel by a first time author. 

Casey Cep and Abir Mukherjee also claimed titles, with Lou Berney receiving acclaim in two categories. 

The awards, which celebrate the best in crime writing, were announced during a live virtual ceremony today (22nd October) hosted by writer and critic Barry Forshaw, and featuring Richard Osman.

Robotham received the Gold Dagger for Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere) featuring forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven. He was previously awarded the Gold Dagger for Life or Death in 2015. Meanwhile Wood's debut, The Man on the Street (Quercus)featuring a homeless veteran struggling with PTSD, and described by Lee Child as an "instant classic", took the New Blood Dagger for debuts. Wood is a journalist and playwright, and previously served in the Royal Navy for 16 years.

Berney won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for best thriller for November Road (Harper Fiction)a "poignant crime novel set against the assassination of J F Kennedy" and was also Highly Commended in the Gold Dagger category. The American author has previously won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Barry, and Oklahoma Book awards.

Mukherjee won the Sapere Books Historical Dagger for his fourth novel, Death in the East (Harvill Secker), featuring central character Sam Wyndham.

The ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction has been bagged by Casey Cep, a staff writer at the New Yorker whose first book, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (William Heinemann), was a Barack Obama choice as book of the year. The Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year Dagger, which celebrates publishers and imprints demonstrating excellence and diversity in crime writing, went to Orenda Books, established in 2014 by Karen Sullivan.

Commenting on the ceremony, Forshaw said: “The CWA Dagger Awards are the most prestigious prizes in crime fiction, and this year has furnished a particularly strong set of books and authors. Nothing dampens the excitement of the Daggers—not even pandemics!”

Linda Stratmann, chair of the CWA, added: “The winners, and all those who were in contention for a Dagger are, as always, to be commended. One thing the pandemic and lockdown has taught us is the value and importance of books and storytelling— for escapism and comfort and for our well-being. Books have always been the conduit to other worlds and into other lives. They let us know we are not alone, so our 2020 virtual awards feel even more significant as many vulnerable people are in enforced isolation and we are all socially distancing. We’re proud to celebrate the crime genre.”

The winners in full: 

Gold Dagger, Fiction
Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)
Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction) – Highly Commended

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger
Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)

John Creasey (New Blood Dagger)
Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)

ALCS Gold Dagger, Non-Fiction
Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann)

Sapere Books Historical Dagger
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)

Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger
Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)

Short Story Dagger
Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)

Dagger in the Library
Christopher Brookmyre

Debut Dagger
Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies
Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife — Highly Commended

Publisher's Dagger
Orenda Books