Crime Writers' Association

TEA - CWA logo.jpg

Writers’ Associations offer a lot of support to writers at all stages of their careers. Sarah Ward, Membership Secretary of the CWA has kindly answered my questions:-

Tell us a little about the history of the CWA

The CWA was founded in 1953 - over sixty years of support, promotion and celebration of this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres. We run the prestigious Dagger Awards which celebrate the best in crime writing. We also run the Crime Readers' Association and National Crime Reading Month.

How does membership of the CWA work? (benefits, costs, events etc)

The CWA has a thriving, growing community with a membership encompassing authors of all ages and at all stages of their careers. Our entry criteria is simple and wide ranging. We offer full membership for those in the UK and overseas who have had published a full length work of crime fiction or non-fiction, and provisional membership for those who have a contract from a recognised publishing house but have not yet had their work published. If you are an author based outside the UK you are equally welcome.

For those who work primarily within the industry – publishers, editors, agents, bloggers and reviewers – we also have associate and corporate membership categories. Full details of costs for each category plus the application form can be found on the following web page.

Can you tell us who a few of your members are?

Our members include Ian Rankin, Cath Staincliffe, Peter Robinson, Ann Cleeves, Ben Aaronovich, Nicola Upson, Steve Cavanagh, Belinda Bauer.

Does the CWA run events for authors?

Events include the annual CWA conference open to CWA members and partners only, Alibis in the Archives in association with Gladstone's Library in June; the CWA Dagger Awards in October and the CWA Christmas party in London in December. There are a network of chapter meetings for members to attend based around the regions.

Tell us about the CWA book awards (who can enter, when they run, what the prizes are)

Currently ten Daggers are awarded annually by the CWA and are regarded by the publishing world as the foremost British awards for crime-writing. Most of the awards are nominated by the book’s publishers. For details on schedule, on how to nominate and to submit nominations, visit

How else do you support your authors?

Benefits for CWA members include:

  • Selling your books and engaging directly with thousands of crime writing fans through our Crime Readers’ Association. As well as the website, where you can post blogs and have your books – complete with Amazon and Hive links – and profile featured in Find An Author, we send a regular newsletter featuring members’ news, and a bimonthly ezine with details of members’ new books, to a database of over 10,000 – all of which help our members to reach new audiences.

  • Meeting and networking with other crime writers – both at our events and virtually via our members-only Facebook page

  • Attending our annual conference, exclusively for CWA crime writers

  • Discounts and special offers; for example 20% off your first year’s CWA membership for members of the Society of Authors

  • Meeting publicists, journalists, bloggers, editors and other associate members
    Our wide range of contacts in libraries and festivals, to help you organise and publicise your author events

  • Our monthly magazine, Red Herrings, and regular e newsletters full of news, events, and opportunities for crime writers
    Access to a dedicated free tax helpline for members, kindly provided by HW Fisher & Company.

What should authors do if they’d like to find out more?

For more information, visit: