You can use the online form even if you choose to pay by cheque.
We can only accept Canadian funds.
Contact Ludvica Boota, Awards Manager, at
2021 CWC Awards of Excellence Submission Rules
Deadline 15 December 2020
The 2021 awards are for books and short stories published in 2020. The awards are presented annually by Crime Writers of Canada in the following categories:
- 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 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
- Best Nonfiction Crime Book
The Awards are for CRIME WRITING which encompasses far more than the traditional whodunit. Crime writing includes capers, cozies, detective, espionage, mystery, police procedural, suspense, and thrillers, 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
To qualify, all works must fulfill the following criteria:
- First publication; whether in English or French, in the preceding year (2020) by a Canadian citizen regardless of place of residence, or by a writer, regardless of nationality, who has been granted Permanent Resident status in Canada.
Note 1: The year of publication is determined solely by the copyright date of the book or the short story.
Note 2: If a work is co-authored, at least one of the authors must fulfill the citizenship/Permanent Resident requirement.
Note 3: If the work was originally published in a language other than English or French, the first English or French translation of the book is still eligible if:
- this translation is first published in the preceding year (2020); and
- the author fulfills the above citizenship/residency requirement.
Translations from English to French or from French to English that have been previously published in the other official language are NOT ELIGIBLE.
New editions or revisions that are substantially the same (60% or greater) as the previously published version are NOT ELIGIBLE.
- The book or story fits into the crime-writing genre (see above for our description of "crime genre").
- The work must be available in print for purchase in Canada through a Canadian retailer's regular channels (bookstores, Chapters/Indigo online, Amazon.ca, etc.) Word count must be stipulated on the entry form.
EXCEPTION: Best Novella and Best Short Story Categories where special rules apply (see below).
Special criteria for the Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada category:
The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada is awarded to an author whose work is set in Canada. The award is in memory of Howard Engel, who was known for creating one of the first mystery series set in Canada and honours his contribution to the Canadian crime genre.
In addition to the general Published Category eligibility rules and criteria, the work must also meet the following special eligibility requirements for Best Crime Novel set in Canada:
- The majority of the work (60% or greater) must be set in some part of Canada.
- An author cannot win this category in more than two (2) consecutive years. E.g. an author who has won the award in two (2) consecutive years would not be eligible in year three (3).
Special criteria for Novella category: The work must be published by a traditional publisher or in a recognized periodical. If self-published, novellas must be available in print through a Canadian retailer's regular channels (bookstores, Chapters/Indigo online, Amazon.ca, etc.) to be allowed. Word count must be stipulated on the entry form.
Special criteria for Short Story category: The work must be published by a traditional publisher or in a recognized periodical. Self-published short stories will not be accepted. Word count must be stipulated on the entry form. Authors can enter up to three short stories.
Special eligibility requirements for the Best Crime First Novel category: In addition to the above eligibility rules, an author entered in this category cannot have had any earlier novel of any kind published commercially:
- in print, electronic/e-book, or self-published; whether
- in Canada or any other country; whether
- in any genre, including literary fiction; whether
- under the author's given name or a pseudonym, and alone or jointly with another author
Note 1: A novel that has an ISBN (or ASIN) is considered to be published commercially.
Note 2: The author may be published in other formats (e.g., short stories, novella, non-fiction, plays/screenplays, poetry) and still be eligible to enter in this category.
Note 3: If the author enters two books for consideration, only the first book published is eligible for Best First. The second book can be entered in the Best Novel category.
- $45 per title for novels
- $30 per title for the novella category
- $20 per title for short stories ($50 for a collection with 3 short stories that are being entered or $50 per 3 short stories if an anthology with multiple authors.)
- $45 per title for all other books (French, Nonfiction, Juvenile)
COVID Discount Pricing for CWC Members
- $25 per title for novels
- $15 per title for the novella category
- $10 per title for short stories ($25 for a collection with 3 short stories that are being entered or $25 per 3 short stories if an anthology with multiple authors.)
- $25 per title for all other books (French, Nonfiction, Juvenile)
To receive the CWC member pricing:
- Membership must be in good standing
- Indicate on the form that you are a CWC member
NOTE: The COVID discount pricing only applies to entries from individual members, not publisher members. However, individuals can submit their payment, form and have their publishers submit three (3) copies of their books directly to CWC.
NOTE: Once the entry has been submitted, CWC is unable to make any price adjustments
Please make out your cheque or money order in Canadian funds for the appropriate amount to Crime Writers of Canada. (See address below.)
Entry fees that are not paid IN FULL will be disqualified.
If a category has fewer than six (6) submissions in a given year, all books or stories will be held over to be judged in the Awards of the following year.
Submissions must be postmarked or courier-dated no later than 15 December, 2020.
For each submission please include:
- Three (3) copies of each book title OR three (3) photocopies of each short story (or novella if not published in print) including a copy of the table of contents with the story title.
Note: If more than one eligible short story in an anthology is being entered, publishers may find it convenient to submit the print book. Up to but no more than three (3) short stories per author may be submitted. If the anthology also contains a novella that is being entered, separate copies must be submitted.
- An entry form for each title. If the books are being sent separately, please contact
- A cheque or money order in Canadian funds, made out to Crime Writers of Canada if you have not paid online.
Note: A title can only be entered in one category and cannot be changed after the deadline, so check eligibility requirements above before you select one of the categories.
Please send your submission to:
Crime Writers of Canada Awards
716 Thicket Way
Submissions must be postmarked or courier-dated no later than 15 December 2020.
The shortlists for all categories will be announced on Wednesday, 21 April 2021.
The winners will be announced at the CWC Awards Gala in Toronto on
Thursday, 27 May 2021.
Details will be announced on the website: www.crimewriterscanada.com
Printable entry form (For those who prefer printed forms, and are paying by cheque.)
Les prix Arthur Ellis appel de soumission (bientôt disponible)