Lynda wins the Diamond Dagger Award

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Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke are 2024’s are awarded the Diamond Dagger — the highest accolade in the genre

Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke honoured with highest accolade in crime writing

For the first time in its 70-year history, the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) is awarding two authors its annual Diamond Dagger. Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke are 2024’s recipients of the Diamond Dagger- the highest accolade in the genre.

Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke are 2024’s recipients of the Diamond Dagger- the highest accolade in the genre.

The award recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.

Vaseem Khan, Chair of the CWA, said: “The Diamond Dagger judges almost came to blows this year and for good reason. Ultimately, they have chosen to recognise two incredible bodies of work that have each, in their own way, made their mark. Lynda La Plante’s Prime Suspect redefined the role of women in police procedurals and made a star of Helen Mirren, while Widows remains a talismanic – and wickedly entertaining – female-led heist caper.”

Nominations for the CWA Diamond Dagger are recommended by CWA members. Industry experts then narrow these down to a shortlist.

The winner is then voted for by a panel of past Diamond Dagger winners comprising of Peter James, Walter Mosley, Lee Child, Lawrence Block, Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, Lindsey Davis, Andrew Taylor, Martina Cole, Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid, Robert Goddard, Martin Edwards, Catherine Aird and Simon Brett.

Lynda La Plante and James Lee Burke join icons of the genre who have been recognised with the accolade, including Ruth Rendell, PD James, Colin Dexter, Reginald Hill, and John Le Carré.

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA Daggers’ committee, said: “By an extraordinary quirk of fate, due to our new voting process, this year’s Diamond Dagger is, for the first time in seven decades, being awarded to two authors. If the Booker Prize can do it, so can we! Both such wonderful and deserving writers who, between them, demonstrate the marvellous diversity of crime writing.”

The CWA Daggers are now regarded by the publishing world as the foremost British awards for crime-writing. As the oldest awards in the genre, they have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over half a century.

La Plante said: “In 2024 I will publish both the final book in the young Tennison series, and a memoir detailing my long career as an actress, television producer and crime writer. To also be awarded the Diamond Dagger from the CWA makes 2024 even more special, and I look forward to thanking all those involved in person at the awards ceremony on July 4th.”

The Diamond Dagger is presented at the annual CWA Dagger Awards, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the crime genre,’ which take place this year on July 4.

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