The Crime Writers' Association undertakes a very wide range of activities on behalf of its members, and from quite an early point in its existence, back in the Fifties, the CWA has sought to promote crime writing generally - in the belief that celebrating the best books in the genre is widely beneficial, because it interests and enthuses readers up and down the country and much further afield.
One of the latest initiatives is "the CWA Dagger Reads", which is a starting out as an online venture aimed at giving readers a voice as regards those sought-after awards, the CWA Daggers. The growing connection between readers and writers has already seen the creation of the Crime Readers' Association, which now has thousands of members, and the CWA Dagger Reads is another element in the strategy of making use of the internet to increase connections, and awareness of the enjoyability of the genre.
What the CWA is doing is trialling this idea in relation to its final three awards of the year - the CWA Gold Dagger for fiction, the CWA John Creasey Dagger, and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. On the CWA Dagger Reads website there is a good deal of info about each of the books that have been short-listed for these Daggers. The hope is that this will encourage discussion among readers and further enhance the profile of the books in question.
The Daggers will be awarded at a ceremony in London on 29 September that I'm looking forward to attending. Te current plan is to extend the project to all books short-listed for CWA Daggers next year. Possible developments include events at literary festivals, and that idea seems to me to be well worth exploring, not least because the more that these events spread out from London to the rest of the country, making it easier and cheaper for many crime fans to become involved, the better. But that's for the future. In the meantime, I'm glad that this venture is up and running online.