The 2019 CWA Daggers – a new Dagger

I’m a little late to the party on this one so I hope you’ll bear with me.

In August the CWA announced a new annual Dagger, the first in over a decade, to recognise the contribution of a publisher to the genre. Officially described as “Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year”, to quote the CWA’s press release “Publishers and specific imprints are being nominated by a representative group of leading book reviewers, booksellers, festival organisers, bloggers, literary agents and journalists, with the eventual winner to be designated from the shortlist by the CWA Board.”

In September the shortlist was announced (as below) and as you can see  was a mix of small publishers and imprints from larger ones.

Faber & Faber, one of the world’s most established publishing houses founded in 1929, publishes bestsellers in the genre alongside the novels of the legendary P.D. James.

HarperFiction, an imprint of one of the world’s largest publishing companies Harpercollins, publishes some of the best commercial writers around, including major crime and thriller authors.

HQ, a digital imprint of HarperCollins launched in 2016 with the ambition of publishing books that are ‘bold, brave and inclusive’ on the bestseller lists.

No Exit Press is one of the UK’s leading independent publishers of crime fiction. Over its 30 years of business, it’s published numerous award-winning titles and prides itself on uncovering new talent.

Orenda Books was established in 2014 by Karen Sullivan, the former managing editor of Arcadia Books, with a focus on literary and crime fiction. Orenda, a First Nations word, translates as ‘the mystical power that drives human accomplishment’.

The crime imprint Pushkin Vertigo was launched in 2015 by Pushkin Press, publishing crime classics from around the world.

Bloomsbury Books launched its imprint Raven Books in 2016, specialising in literary crime, thrillers and suspense, as ‘home of the best and the brightest in new writing for all those who love their books with a touch of the dark side.’

With the exception of Penguin (and Puffin when I was small) I’d never taken any notice of who the publisher of a book was until I started blogging. After I started to receive review copies I obviously paid a bit more attention. (I have to confess, however, that imprints are still a bit of a mystery to me. ) What I can say is that from a blogger and reader perspective there are some publishers who have a consistent style to the type of (crime) fiction they publish (take Orenda Books, for example) and others who have a broad spread and a much more commercial slant. Of course the practical difference as a blogger is the willingness of the publicity department to engage with bloggers and develop a positive relationship with them – something that must be good for  both parties.

And the winner is… well, was, announced on the night as No Exit Press.

Do you have a favourite publisher based on the quality (and it’s bound to be subjective) of the crime fiction they publish?



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