The Crime Writers of Canada
Awards of Excellence
About the Awards
The Awards are for CRIME WRITING and are not restricted to mystery writing. Crime-writing encompasses far more than the traditional whodunit. The crime genre includes crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, and thriller writing, as well as fictional or factual accounts of criminal doings and crime-themed literary works. If you are not certain that your submission qualifies as a crime book or story, please contact us at
Awards are presented annually in the following categories (pending sufficient numbers.)
For published works:
- Best Crime Novel sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
- Best Crime First Novel sponsored by Writers First with a $500 prize(Min. 50,000 words AND author’s 1st novel in any genre.)
- The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery sponsored by Jane Doe, with a $500 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
- The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada with a $500 prize. (Min. 35,000 words)
- Best Crime Novella sponsored by Mystery Magazine with a $200 prize (8,001 - 49,999 words)
- Best Crime Short Story sponsored by Mystery Magazine with a $300 prize (Max. 8,000 words)
- Best French Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction)
- Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction) sponsored by Shaftesbury with a $500 prize
- The Brass Knuckles Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book sponsored by Simpson & Wellenreiter LLP (Hamilton) with a $300 prize
For unpublished novels:
- The Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript with a $500 prize sponsored by ECW Press
The Awards are open to permanent residents of Canada, or by Canadian citizens living abroad.
Unpublished submissions must be received via email by 15 October.
Published submissions must be postmarked or courier dated by 15 December.
The CWC Awards of Excellence Shortlists presentation takes place mid-April. Details will be posted and updated on the Home Page in March and the list will be posted on the website after the announcement on the current Shortlist page.
Presentation of Winners
Because of the pandemic, we've had to forego our Awards Gala at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto for a Red Carpet presentation on YouTube. Produced by Stone Court Studios, and performed by voice actor Frank Kearney, we promise something more than a dry reading of a list of names.
Crime Writers of Canada Awards
716 Thicket Way
We would like the thank our sponsors for their support, as well as the publishers and authors without whom there would be no Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence.