CWA competitions

February 28

CWA Debut Dagger& Margery Allingham Short Story Competition

CWA Debut Dagger

This is the one to win, for would-be crime novelists –
and even if you don’t, writers on the shortlist come to the direct attention of literary agents
and publishers, which has worked well in previous years.
Pop along to the Debuts page
to read inspiring tales of success.
Jayne Bernard and M W Craven have fascinating, helpful things to say,
and we’ll be adding more personal stories soon.

Meanwhile, over on Crime Writing Tips, you’ll find all kinds of advice,
especially those written by one of the Debut Dagger pre-readers
whose scores create the longlist.
Essential reading for any serious entrant.

So what do you have to do? Write an opening of a crime novel up to 3,000 words,
together with a synopsis for the full novel of up to 1,500 words.
Do you need to finish the novel? No – although if you do reach the shortlist,
there’s no denying agents will be much more interested if you’ve completed it, or nearly.
Can you enter even if you’ve self-published it?
Yes (providing you’ve never had a traditional contract for a full-length novel).
But can you enter if you already have an agent?
No, sorry; not if you have a contract at the time the competition closes.
Is there an entry cost? Yes: £36 –
and can you win money as well as glory?
Yes: there’s £500 for the winner.

And still plenty of time if you think getting some professional feedback may be a good idea,
check out the Criminal Critiques page on the CWA website
The popular Mini Critique is especially aimed at Debut Dagger entrants
we recommend you submit without delay If you want feedback
to hone and polish your entry for the deadline,

Anything else you need to know?
On the Debut Dagger page itself
you can read the full rules (always a good plan…)
and submit your entry. Good luck!
For more details contact

CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition

Not to be missed for lovers of the short story –
and being shortlisted for this renowned competition
adds prestige to your writing CV, garnering more attention.

You have a limit of 3,500 words and a fairly open brief,
providing your story fits the Margery Allingham’s definition:
‘The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly,
a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.’

It costs £12 to enter
and the winner walks away with £500, a selection of Margery Allingham books
and two passes for international crime writing convention CrimeFest in 2020;
the winner will be announced in 2019 at
For past winning entries, the rules, and to submit,
visit the Short Story Competition Page on the CWA website
The deadline is 6pm on 28 February 2019.

Would you like professional feedback on your story before submitting?
The CWA Mini Critique is for any writing up to 4,000 words, including short stories.
For more details, contact


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