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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Debut Dagger Longlisted

Last Friday, bestselling authors from around the globe gathered at CrimeFest in Bristol to hear the announcement of the Debut Dagger long list...

For fifteen years the CWA has been encouraging new writers with its Debut Daggers; a crime novel competition that attracts hundreds of entries from all over the world. Last year’s winner was from Australia and previous short lists have included authors from India, Canada and New Zealand- so it really is very much an international competition.

This year I plucked up the courage to put myself forward.

‘Believe in yourself,’ my husband said. ‘What have you got to lose?’

The entry fee of £36 is steep compared to other writing contests but I wanted to know if my book was good enough to stand out from the crowd. And given the reputed quality and quantity of the entries, not to mention the judges themselves (most of whom are linked to major publishing houses) I figured it would be a good test of my manuscript’s …

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Special Twitter Giveaway

To celebrate reaching the heady heights of over 30,000 Twitter followers, we're going to be running a special giveaway to say thank you. That means a different book up for grabs each day for two whole weeks! And as you can see from the titles on show below, there really is something for everyone.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply follow our Twitter account and look out for the appropriate tweet on the dates listed below. You just just need to re-tweet the competition tweet to enter.


Monday 22nd May

The debut writer...
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

Tuesday 23rd May

The psychological thriller writer...
Based On A True Story by Delphine de Vigan

Wednesday 24th May

The YA fantasy series writer...
A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Thursday 25th May

The literary fiction writer...
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Friday 26th May

The non-fiction writer...
Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness & Hope by Erwin James

Saturday 27th May

The nature writer...
At …

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Top Tips On Writing Crime Fiction

On the evening of 5th April 2017, I attended the Writers & Artist’s How to Write Crime Fiction masterclass, with best-selling author Mark Billingham. It was a fantastic introduction to writing crime fiction – talking rules and when to break them. 

Here are 10 top tips I learnt from Mark:


1. Write the book you want to read

As a writer, don’t look for gaps in the market. Instead, write about what interests you as a reader  as this is likely to interest other people too. 


2. Choose a strong opening

You need to hook the reader quickly and early. You have 15 seconds in a bookshop to ‘sell’ your book through the cover, blurb and first few paragraphs. Lure the reader in with a killer sentence or anything that asks a question. This is essential if you’re submitting a manuscript to an agent or publisher, as this will make the difference between them reading your first three chapters or not. 


3. Decide on your point of view (POV)

You may find you write more …

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Short Story Competition 2017: Winner Revealed!


Once again, The W&A team have been blown away by the number of entries for the short story competition this year – 2,108 to be precise! 

Although no theme was set for this year’s competition, we saw some common threads emerging. 

These included stories about dementia and Alzheimer's, mistaken identity, near-death experiences and reflections on life and mortality more generally.

Overall, the tales were more contemplative and reflective and our winning entries reflect these prevailing themes. They are linked by characters experiencing grief, loss and longing.

Without further ado, let's announce the winners!


This year's winner is... Evie by David Simmonds.

Feedback from Alysoun Owen, Editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook:

Evie is a cross-generational tale of family, love, memory, longing and untold stories. It has a quiet, reflective tone. It is well told, with a strong beginning, a clear, concise sense of time and space as we start the story right in the midst …

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Short Story Competition 2017: Shortlist


Once again, our annual Short Story Competition has proven as popular as ever. We've had thousands of entries (2,134, to be precise!) and it's been an absolute joy to get a glimpse of your writing. A shortlist, however, had to be settled on, with this year's judge - our very own editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Alysoun Owen - whittling things down until just ten entries remained. And here they are!

Chasing The Shadow – Jane Fraser

Evie – David Simmons

Encounter – Annie Fairfax Kemp

Into The Abyss – Louise Mangos

A Taste Of Something Different – Lee Wadmore

Crescent Bay – Emma Davies

One Moment – Amanda Staples

Passed Over – Marie Gethins

The Suitcase – Hilary Hopker

The Pilgrims – Steve Hosking

The winner and two runners-up will be announced here before the end of March, with Alysoun due to provide feedback on each of the chosen entries.

For those of you who haven't made the shortlist this year, enter the code #

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