CWA charges publishers for shortlisted entries

At first glance, this news made me groan. Here we go again, another potential controversy served up by the Crime Writers’ Association as they attempt to get with the times, make some more money and play with the big boys. But perhaps it’s better to let the press release speak for itself, then get into a general discussion afterwards:

The Crime Writers’ Association is following the Booker and Orange

prizes in charging publishers for any of their books that are shortlisted for

its annual Dagger Awards.

The charges for each shortlisted title will be

£500 per title for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, £200 for the Duncan Lawrie

International Dagger and Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and £100 for the New Blood

and Non Fiction Daggers. As previously, there is no entry fee for books

submitted for the Dagger Awards

CWA Chair Robert Richardson said: “This

is not a money-making move, but a way to reduce the considerable financial costs

we face in organising and promoting the Dagger Awards. We are not a wealthy

organisation and it is an increasing burden on our limited finances. Authors and

publishers benefit from being shortlisted – and especially winning – while there

is no gain to the CWA. The income these charges generate will not cover the full

costs of the operation, but will leave us with a balance that we can afford.

This is solely a CWA committee decision.”

The Daggers date back to 1954

and are among the longest-established literary awards in Britain, with the

£20,000 Duncan Lawrie Dagger now the world’s biggest prize for crime fiction. At

the awards dinner at London’s Waldorf Hilton hotel in June, it was won by Ann

Cleeves for Raven Black, published by Macmillan.

Richardson added: “Some

may argue that the Booker and Orange prizes have a much higher profile, but they

charge publishers £2,000 for each shortlisted title. What we are asking for is

much more modest – and we are dealing with the most widely-read area of popular


Now, one could argue that having a sponsor as rich as Duncan Lawrie would alleviate such issues, but guess not, huh?