Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The Diamond Dagger


Image result for cwa diamond dagger

Well, it's been quite a twenty-four hours. Since the news was announced that I'm this year's recipient of the CWA Diamond Dagger, I've been inundated with generous messages. Literally hundreds of them. As if the joy of receiving the highest honour in UK crime writing were not enough, receiving the good wishes of so many kind people from all over the world has been truly humbling.

I'm still processing it all, to be honest, but I thought I'd just reflect on a conversation that I had many years ago - I'd guess it was 1996 or 1997 - with a dear friend, the late Reginald Hill. He'd recently won the Diamond Dagger himself, and was asked by the CWA to form a sub-committee which would put forward suitable candidates for the Diamond Dagger from the plethora of nominations submitted by CWA members - a sort of "quality control" process.  

So Reg rang me up and said he didn't really like committees, but thought that if I joined him, the two of us could treat the exercise seriously, but also as an excuse for a chat and a gossip. He'd become something of a mentor to me, and wrote a lovely and characteristically witty introduction to an early collection of my short stories.

He knew of my intense love of the crime genre, and he said that, having won the Diamond Dagger himself, he wanted us to ensure that standards were maintained. He also said that he felt that as I wasn't going to be a candidate for the next few years, I could contribute my opinions with an open mind. And then he added that he believed that one day I would follow in his footsteps and receive the award. This struck me as extraordinary, not merely because I'd only written five or six books at this point, but also because he simply wasn't the sort of person who would volunteer such a thing without meaning it; he certainly wasn't given to casual flattery. Smart guy as he was, though, I couldn't believe that his forecast would come true. 

For a number of years Reg and I submitted shortlists of candidates for the award to the committee and we did indeed have some very enjoyable chats along the way. (The usual process is essentially this: nominations are submitted by CWA members; a dedicated sub-committee produces a shortlist of say half a dozen, perhaps up to ten, candidates; and then the CWA committee decides.) That original conversation with Reg has stuck in my mind but I must say that even though my name began to feature occasionally in nominations, I continued not to believe it would happen. Now that it has, I'm very happy about it. And I'd like to think that Reg would be happy too.


13 comments:

RT said...

Congratulations from the Gulf coast ....
https://crimesdetectivesandmysteries.blogspot.com/

Rick Robinson said...

Let me add my congratulations to those you've already received. Well done indeed.

TracyK said...

I had not heard of the honor you received until I read this, and I must say you certainly deserve it. And that is a lovely story about Reginald Hill that you shared. Congratulations.

seana graham said...

Let me add my voice to the chorus of congratulations, Martin. Well deserved!

Roberta Rood said...

Wow, Martin; I can't think of a more deserving recipient. Congratuations!

Paul Beech said...

Martin, huge Congratulations on winning the CWA Diamond Dagger 2020.

My goodness, you deserve it, not only for your brilliant crime novels, short stories and non-fiction, not only for your wonderful work as an editor and anthologist, but also for your massive contribution to the genre as a whole through the CWA, the Detection Club and the establishment of the British Crime Writing Archives at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden.

You are a truly great champion of British crime writing and our leading expert in the field. Further, your passion for the genre shines through in all you do, boosting the enthusiasm of others.

I couldn’t be more delighted with the news.

My very best,

Paul

Anonymous said...

Bravo! The honor of the CWA Diamond Dagger bestowed upon you is well deserved. Your work excels, and far exceeds so much of the current publication of trendy drivel that dilutes the genre. Your novels are a lasting contribution, always delight to read and recommend to others. Thank you, and congratulations from Kelley in Scottsdale AZ.

Clothes in Books said...

What a lovely story Martin.
And I have congratulated you elsewhere, but am happy to do so again!

Martin Edwards said...

RT, Rick, TracyK - thank you all!

Martin Edwards said...

Seana, Roberta, Paul - thanks a million!

Martin Edwards said...

Kelley, Moira - greatly appreciated, thanks.

MaityVictor said...

Congratulations from an Indian fan and avid collector of your BLCC series anthologies and novels!!
I am very grateful to you for your efforts in bringing back those wonderful books to print as they have given me and my father so much pleasure till now and will continue to do so seeing my already overflowing shelf .

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks very much - and all there are plenty more good ones to come!