I’m delighted to have been accepted as a full member of the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA). The CWA was founded in 1953 and has been promoting and celebrating the crime genre, both fiction and non-fiction, ever since. It is perhaps most well known for its Golden Dagger awards, the ‘Oscars’ for anyone writing in the genre. As the picture shows, they are impressive awards – I’ve always wondered whether the dagger is actually a letter opener which you can remove. That would be a truly functional award trophy! The past winners lists contain some extremely impressive authors. In the non-fiction genre, it includes one of the finest British true crime writers, in my opinion, the late Johnathan Goodman.
But how does it handle cross-genre crime books? My own books are a blend of narrative and creative non-fiction. The latter is similar to historical novels, but with greater restrictions. In a historical crime novel, the setting might be from a bygone era, say the 1930s, with fictional detectives and a fictional crime to solve. Creative non-fiction involves real events and people from the past, but uses dramatic techniques of the novel to tell the true story. This sometimes involves imagining dialogue, intentions and thoughts, but always governed by the facts of the case. Or, as I like to say, the creative non-fiction crime author has to join the evidential dots with plausible lines of narrative.
Of course, ‘to look daggers’ means to stare with hostility. Unless you’re a crime writer, that is. Then it means to aspire to be the best!