The Crime Writers of Canada

Awards of Excellence


Submissions for 2022 Awards closed. 


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 Weekly with a $200 prize (8,001 - 49,999 words)
  • Best Crime Short Story sponsored by Mystery Weekly 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For unpublished novels:

  • The Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript with a $500 prize sponsored by ECW Press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.


The Submission Rules for the Published Categories and Unpublished Category are posted on the first of September.

Unpublished submissions must be received via email by 15 October.

Published submissions must be postmarked or courier dated by 15 December.


Shortlists Announcement

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.


Awards Gala

In the past the Awards Gala has taken place at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, usually the last Thursday in May. Because of the pandemic, this was not been possible last year. There will be no gala for 2021 either, but there will be a presentation video on YouTube.

Event details will be posted and updated on the Home Page at the end of April and the winners will be posted on the current Winners page after the announcement.

Contact Information

Crime Writers of Canada Awards
716 Thicket Way
Ottawa, ON
K4A 3B5

We would like the thank the Engel family and our corporate sponsors for their support, as well as the publishers and authors without whom there would be no Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence.

2022 Award Sponsors