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February 2017
Dear Reader,
Welcome to the February CRA Newsletter.
First up, First Monday…
Be In at the First

First Monday is a monthly crime fiction/thriller social night held in Central London. A mix between a social evening and a literary festival panel, First Mondays offer the crime fiction community – readers, writers and industry professionals – a place to meet, enjoy each other’s company and hear about the latest and most interesting crime fiction around.

The CWA are pleased to support First Monday and on February 6th will be using the occasion to announce the 2017 Longlist for the Dagger in the Library – the only major crime writing award nominated exclusively by library staff. The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. Those at the event will hear the longlist news before anyone else.

At the February meeting, First Monday, which begins at 6.30pm in the Courtrooms at Browns Brasserie, will as usual host a panel discussion, this month chaired by Barry Forshaw (Brit Noir etc). Endeavour Historical Dagger winner from 2016, David Young with Stasi Child, will be on the panel, together with MR Hall, Steph Broadribb and Sheena Kamal.

There is a small entry charge (£7), which includes a glass of wine compliments of Goldsboro Books, and 50% of the revenue for the evening goes to the participating authors and the chairperson. Books by the authors will be sold by Goldsboro.

The event is held in the Courtrooms at Browns Brasserie, 82-84 St. Martins Lane, London WC2N 4AG (nearest Tubes: Leicester Square, Charing Cross).

For more information and to book tickets:

Anyone interested in supporting the evening, or to propose an author for future panels, please contact:

@1stMondayCrime #1stMondayCrime

From First Draft To Final Draft

For those of you working on a book of your own, Writers & Artists have revealed an exclusive ten-week writing course with critically acclaimed author William Ryan.

The course – which begins in March – is tailor-made for writers seeking expert guidance on how to transform their work-in-progress into a ready-to-submit manuscript.

As well as a chance to rub shoulders with an impressive cast of guest speakers (see speaker profiles), all writers are guaranteed to receive:

  • 25 hours of invaluable advice from a combination of leading authors and publishing industry professionals

  • Practical sessions covering essential elements of the writing craft

  • Takeaway exercises directly applicable to your material

  • Opportunities to pitch to a leading literary agent and commissioning editor

  • First-hand feedback on sections of your writing within group workshops

  • Three separate critiques of up to 1,000 words of your writing

  • A complimentary copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2017

If this sounds appealing, we have yet more good news. The CWA have negotiated an exclusive discount for our CRA and Debut subscribers of £100 if you quote CWA100 

Time to turn that draft novel idea into a marketable book.

Booking and further details

Events Throughout the Country

Date Brought Forward: The Real Sherlock Holmes?
CWA member Bryan Kesselman will be talking about his biography of Victorian private detective Ignatius Pollaky on 11 Feb at 5pm at Marylebone Library.

Bryan Kesselman, who is a composer and musician as well as a writer, will tell his audience more about 'Paddington' Pollaky, Private Detective, The Mysterious Life and Times of the Real Sherlock Holmes.

Who was the Victorian super-sleuth ‘Paddington’ Pollaky? Newspaper accounts detail his work as a private detective in London, his association with The London Society for the Protection of Young Females, his foiling of those involved in sex trafficking, and his tracking down of abducted children.

What was his involvement in the American Civil War? Why did he place cryptic messages in the agony column of The Times? And why were the newspapers so interested in this Hungarian detective and adventurer while the police thoroughly disapproved of him?

Was it Pollaky who provided the inspiration for great literary creations Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes? Come to Bryan’s talk and find out for yourself.

Portsmouth Coppers with Pauline Rowson and Graham Hurley

Saturday 4 March
10.30am to 12.30pm, Portsmouth Library PO1 2DX

Authors Graham Hurley and Pauline Rowson will be cross examined by former criminal barrister and crime author Diana Bretherick about why they set their crime novels in Portsmouth and what is it about the waterfront city that holds such fascination for them and their fictional detectives.

Portsmouth Coppers is part of Portsmouth BookFest organised by Portsmouth City Library Service and the Hayling Island Bookshop.

Buy your ticket online,  or by phone 023 9268 8037 or in person from any Portsmouth City Council Library. Tickets cost £8.00

For more information and info on Pauline’s popular Art Marvik books, visit

Subscribe to Pauline’s enewsletter for all the latest book news, events, updates, videos and articles:

Follow Pauline Rowson on Twitter

Golden Age of Crime Weekend at Essex Book Festival

Author Helen Barrell is just one of the choice pick of CWA members due to host Golden Age events on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March. The venue is the Park Inn Palace Hotel, Southend-on-Sea.

Says Helen:  ‘I'm hosting the "Criminally Good Afternoon Tea", where I shall try to avoid graphic descriptions of arsenic poisoning symptoms while people eat scones...’. Her teatime chat about real-life stories of poison and panic in the 1840s hints that Essex Book Festival’s Golden Age of Crime Weekend is going to be for the serious sleuths with strong stomachs! As well as Helen,  this year's line-up includes Sophie Hannah who’ll be talking about writing the first Poirot novel since Agatha Christie's death; Frances Fyfield, Jill Paton Walsh and former CWA chair and Detection Club president Simon Brett celebrate the long-lasting legacy of Dorothy L Sayers; debut crime writers join the 'Fresh Blood' panel; there's a Golden Age of Crime Quiz Night; Charles Beck shares insights into Dennis Wheatley's life and work; Sheila Mitchell talks about HRF Keating; and CWA member Isabelle Grey hosts a crime-writing workshop. 

Find out more about the weekend's packed programme of events at

Granite Noir Crime Fiction in Aberdeen

Granite Noir is Aberdeen’s first book festival dedicated to crime fiction. 'Over three days we’ll explore the enduring appeal of stories that plunge us into the heart of darkness - where morality is ambiguous, motives complicated, and even heroes harbour devastating secrets.'

CWA members presenting panels include Sarah Ward, Doug Johnstone, Gordon J Brown, Quentin Bates, Chris Brookmyre and Elly Griffiths and the enticing titles range from Atmosheric Pressure, Does Evil Exist, Poisoned High Tea, Crimestoppers Turned Crimewriters – not to mention Noir at the Bar.

Other authors participating include Stuart MacBride and Denise Mina.

Nordic Noir plays a main role on the Saturday and there are writing workshops as well as panels. Well worth a weekend's visit!

The dates are Friday 24 - Sunday 26 February. 
For more details, and to book, go to:

And at the other end of the country, in March:

Deal Noir

A Conference on Crime Fiction, The Landmark Centre, Deal on Saturday 25th March.

An entertaining day featuring:
  • Best-selling authors speaking on crime fiction in all its forms from dark psychological thrillers through police procedurals to light-hearted romps
  • Interactive sessions where you have chance to put your questions to the panel and join in the debate
CWA member Susan Moody is conference host and there are other CWA members taking part including the wonderful Barry Forshaw, Katerina Diamond, Sarah Ward, Susi Holliday, Guy Fraser-Sampson and others!

Tickets are £25 for a fascinating day. Have a look at the programme and put the date in your diary – this is the third year and it’s growing in reputation and popularity, so best buy tickets soon.

Mystery Writers Win £500

Margery Allingham Short Story

How about entering the Margery Allingham Short Story competition? It’s open to published and unpublished writers and is a competition with a strong reputation; people take note of both the winners and shortlisted writers. 

The prize is £500 and two full tickets to CrimeFest 2018 – the winner is announced at CrimeFest 2017 in May; It's open to all writers, but the story itself, which should bear in mind Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery (see the website), must not have been published on any platform. There's a generous 3,500 word maximum and a deadline of midnight 1 March. Why not have a go! All the details are on

Debut Dagger

Does this famous competition need any introduction? Not only does the winner carry off a CWA Dagger and £500 but the shortlisted entries are circulated to interested literary agents and publishers. It’s a fabulous avenue and one that’s set many an author on the road to publication. Roz Watkins, shortlisted in 2016 with The Devil’s Dice, is set to be published this spring and Mark Brandi, the 2016 winner with Wimmera, has now landed a top publishing contract in Australia. 

The competition is for the opening of a crime novel up to 3,000 words and a synopsis and the deadline is 28 February. The entry fee of £36 reflects the effort that’s put into marketing the shortlisted people. Mini critiques are available from the website until February 12.

For more details, visit:

Hints and tips and the story of the previous winner can be found at:

And did you know there was a special Facebook group, The Debuts, for those interested in writing crime and in entering the Debut Dagger?
Check it out:

Advance notice

One of the most talked-about books of 2016 is available in paperback from February 9.

Paperback Edition of Award-Winning Detection Club Fiction

The Golden Age of Murder is a real-life detective story, investigating how Agatha Christie and colleagues in a mysterious literary club transformed crime fiction, writing books casting new light on unsolved murders while hiding clues to their authors’ darkest secrets. The book is the winner of the Edgar, Agatha, H.R.F. Keating, and Macavity awards for best work of non fiction and was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non Fiction.

This is the first ever book about the Detection Club, the world’s most famous and most mysterious social network of crime writers. Drawing on years of in-depth research, it reveals the astonishing story of how members such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers reinvented detective fiction.

Attracting feminists, gay and lesbian writers, Socialists and Marxist sympathisers, the Detection Club authors were young, ambitious and at the cutting edge of popular culture. Fascinated by real-life crimes, they cracked unsolved cases and threw down challenges to Scotland Yard, using their fiction to take revenge on people who hurt them, to conduct covert relationships, and even as an outlet for homicidal fantasy. The Detection Club occupies a unique place in Britain’s cultural history, and its influence on storytelling in fiction, film and television throughout the world continues to this day.

The author, Martin Edwards, is Chair of the CWA and President of the Detection Club. This is the book to read if you’re fascinated by the history of crime fiction and the lives of those who brought it so intriguingly to the world’s attention in the early 20th century.

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