Rowling, Banville and Griffiths shortlisted for CWA Daggers

Rowling, Banville and Griffiths shortlisted for CWA Daggers

The shortlist for this year's Crime Writers Association (CWA) Daggers Awards sees J K Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith, John Banville and Elly Griffiths in the running for the genre's oldest prizes.  

The Daggers seek to recognise the best in crime writing, with past winners including John le Carré, Reginald Hill and Ruth Rendell.

Galbraith is in the running for two awards, including the Gold Dagger with Troubled Blood (Sphere), hailed as a "magnificent multi-layered epic". Also nominated in that category are City of Ghosts by Ben Creed (Welbeck Fiction), praised as a "brilliantly orchestrated and totally engrossing" debut thriller, and Griffiths' The Postscript Murders (Quercus).

Booker Prize-winner Banville is a contender on the Sapere Books Historical Dagger shortlist with Snow (Faber), his first murder mystery published under his real name rather than his nom de plume, Benjamin Black. The shortlist also includes Vaseem Khan, who swapped his contemporary light-hearted Baby Ganesh Agency series with a historical crime novel Midnight at Malabar House (Hodder & Stoughton), set in 1950s Bombay.

Chris Whitaker, who took home the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in 2017 with his debut, Tall Oaks, is shortlisted for both the Gold and the Ian Fleming Steel Daggers with We Begin at The End (Zaffre). The novel has been a Waterstones Thriller of the Month and sold in 17 territories, with screen rights snapped up by Disney.

Maxim Jakubowski, chair of the CWA, said: “The Dagger shortlists again highlight the wealth of great books and diversity within the crime genre. With terrific new titles from authors both familiar and new, including some books impressively nominated in more than a single category, the presence on the Publisher Dagger shortlist of long-standing traditional publishing houses and smaller independents and even, on the Dagger in the Library (voted on by librarians throughout the country), a first, with a self-published writer rubbing shoulders with established veterans. The Daggers are assuredly the best and most prestigious reflection of what's happening on the crime and mystery writing front.”

The winners will be announced at an online CWA Dagger awards ceremony on 1st July at 7.30 p.m. Barry Forshaw will be master of ceremonies and Abir Mukherjee is the guest speaker. The 2021 Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, the highest honour in British crime writing, has already been announced, awarded to Martina Cole. She will also feature in the live event.

The shortlists in full

Gold Dagger

S A Cosby: Blacktop Wasteland (Headline)

Ben Creed: City of Ghosts (Welbeck Fiction)

Nicci French: House of Correction (Simon & Schuster)

Robert Galbraith: Troubled Blood (Sphere)

Elly Griffiths: The Postscript Murders (Quercus)

Thomas Mullen: Midnight Atlanta (Little, Brown)

Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End (Zaffre)

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Robert Galbraith: Troubled Blood (Sphere)

Michael Robotham: When She Was Good (Sphere)

Catherine Ryan Howard: The Nothing Man (Atlantic Books)

Stuart Turton: The Devil and the Dark Water (Raven Books)

Ruth Ware: One by One (Harvill Secker)

Chris Whitaker: We Begin at the End (Zaffre) 

John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

Eva Björg Ægisdóttir: The Creak on the Stairs (Orenda)

Ben Creed: City of Ghosts (Welbeck)   

Egan Hughes: The One That Got Away (Sphere)

S W Kane: The Bone Jar (Thomas & Mercer)  

Stephen Spotswood: Fortune Favours the Dead (Wildfire)

John Vercher: Three-Fifths (Pushkin Press)           


Sapere Books Historical Dagger

John Banville: Snow (Faber)

Vaseem Khan: Midnight at Malabar House (Hodder & Stoughton)

Chris Lloyd: The Unwanted Dead (Orion)

Michael Russell: The City Under Siege (Constable)

David Stafford: Skelton’s Guide to Domestic Poisons (Allison & Busby)

Ovidia Yu: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (Constable)


ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-fiction

Sue Black: Written in Bone (Doubleday,)

Becky Cooper:  We Keep the Dead Close (William Heinemann)

Andrew Harding: These Are Not Gentle People (MacLehose Press)

Debora Harding: Dancing with the Octopus (Profile Books)

Nick Hayes: The Book of Trespass (Bloomsbury Circus)

Ben MacIntyre: Agent Sonya (Viking)


Crime Fiction in Translation Dagger

Fredrik Backman: Anxious People, translated by Neil Smith (Michael Joseph)

Roxanne Bouchard: The Coral Bride, translated by David Warriner (Orenda)

Yun Ko-eun: The Disaster Tourist, translated by Lizzie Buehler (Serpent's Tail)

D A Mishani: Three, translated by Jessica Cohen (Riverrun)

Mikael Niemi: To Cook a Bear, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner (MacLehose Press)

Agnes Ravatn: The Seven Doors, translated by Rosie Hedger (Orenda)


Short Story Dagger

Robert Scragg: "A Dog Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas" in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds Group)

Elle Croft: "Deathbed" in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg & Various (Criminal Minds Group)

Dominic Nolan: "Daddy Dearest" in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg & Various (Criminal Minds Group)

Victoria Selman: "Hunted" in Afraid of the Christmas Lights, edited by Miranda Jewess (Criminal Minds Group)

Clare Mackintosh: "Monsters" in First Edition: Celebrating 21 Years of Goldsboro Books (The Dome Press)

James Delargy: "Planting Nan" in Afraid of the Light, edited by Robert Scragg & Various (Criminal Minds Group)


Publishers Dagger

Faber & Faber

Head of Zeus

Michael Joseph

No Exit Press




Debut Dagger (Competition for an unpublished novel)

Ashley Harrison – The Looking Glass Spy

Fiona McPhillips – Underwater

Biba Pearce – Rough Justice        

Hannah Redding – Deception

Edward Regenye – Lightfoot

Jennifer Wilson O’Raghallaigh – Mandatory Reporting


Dagger in the Library

C L Taylor

Peter May

Lisa Jewell

James Oswald

Denise Mina

L J Ross