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Crime Writers of Canada – Awards
Attn Ludvica Boota
716 Thicket Way, Ottawa ON K4A 3B5 Canada
 
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Contact Ludvica Boota, Awards Manager, at
 

 2024 Submission Rules for Published Works

(Click here for Unpublished Category Rules)

The 2024 awards are for books and short stories published in 2023. The awards are presented annually by Crime Writers of Canada in the following categories:

  • The Peter Robinson Award for Best Crime Novel sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
  • Best Crime First Novel sponsored by Melodie Campbell, with a $1,000 prize (Min. 50,000 words AND author’s 1st novel in any genre.)
  • The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada sponsored by Charlotte Engel and Crime Writers Canada with a $500 prize. (Min. 50,000 words)
  • The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery sponsored by Jane Doe, with a $500 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
  • Best Crime Novella (8,001 - 49,999 words)
  • Best Crime Short Story (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 Knuckle Awards for Best Nonfiction Crime Book sponsored by David Reid Simpson Law Firm (Hamilton) with a $300 prize

DEFINITION: The Awards are for CRIME WRITING which encompasses a wide range of subgenres. Crime writing includes capers, detective stories, espionage, mystery, police procedural, suspense, cozy, thrillers and crime-themed literary works, as well as fictional or factual accounts of real crimes. 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:

  1. First publication; whether in English or French, in the preceding year (2023) 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:

    1. this translation is first published in the preceding year (2023); and
    2. 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.

  1. The book or story fits into the crime-writing genre (see above for our definition of "crime genre").
  2. 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).

Note: A title can only be entered in one category. The category cannot be changed after the deadline. Please familiarize yourself with the Special Criteria and Eligibillity Rules

1.  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).

2.  Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery:

In addition to the general Published Category eligibility rules and criteria, the work must also meet the following special eligibility requirements for The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery:

Whodunit mystery fiction is a puzzle story; it starts with a murder (or crime) and emphasizes the solving of the crime. The protagonist’s job is to discover who committed the crime and why.

Examples:  Classic Golden Age style (Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes), Amateur Sleuth, Cozy, Private Eye, Police Procedural, Historical, Humorous, and Locked Room.

3. Novella: a. The work has been published by a traditional publisher or in a recognized periodical. b. If self-published, novellas must be available (paper or ebook) through a Canadian retailer's regular channels (bookstores, Chapters/Indigo online, Amazon.ca, etc.) to be eligible. Word count must be stipulated on the entry form.

4.  Short Story category: The work must have been 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.

5. Best 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 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.

 ENTRY FEES:

Non-Member Pricing

  • $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 3 short stories if an anthology with multiple authors.)
  • $45 per title for all other books (French, Nonfiction, Juvenile)

25% Discount for CWC Members  

  • $33.75 per title for novels
  • $22.50 per title for the novella category
  • $15 per title for short stories ($37.50 for a collection with 3 short stories that are being entered or 3 short stories if an anthology with multiple authors.)
  • $33.75 per title for all other books (French, Nonfiction, Juvenile)

To receive the CWC member pricing:

  1. Membership must be in good standing
  2. Indicate on the form that you are a CWC member (price adjustments will not be made after submission)

NOTE: The discount pricing only applies to entries from individual members, not publisher members. However, individuals can submit their payment form, and have their publishers submit a PDF copy of their book directly to CWC.

TO ENTER:

Click the appropriate link to enter your submission. Members: https://crimewritersofcanadastore.ecwid.com/Crime-Writers-of-Canada-Awards-of-Excellence-Published-Categories-MEMBER-PRICING-p114399526. Non-Members: https://crimewritersofcanadastore.ecwid.com/Crime-Writers-of-Canada-Awards-of-Excellence-Published-Categories-NON-MEMBER-PRICING-p231943583.

The form will give you the option of paying online, via e-transfer (INTERAC) or cheque. All payments must be made in Canadian funds.

If paying by e-transfer, send to:  Please include your order receipt number in the note or if using a print form please include the title of your entry in the note.

Cheques should be made out to Crime Writers of Canada and sent to:

Crime Writers Canada
ATTN: Ludvica Boota
716 Thicket Way
Ottawa Ontario
K4A 3B5

For the print form, please click here images/stories/Awards/PRINT-EntryForm-Published.pdf. The print form can be emailed to: or mailed with your cheque to the address above.

Entry fees that are not paid IN FULL by the required date will result in the submission being 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 Deadline 15 December 2023 11:59 PST.

Note: A title can only be entered in one category and cannot be changed after the deadline, so check eligibility requirements on the CWC website before you select one of these categories on this form. 

PDF ENTRIES – A NEW APPROACH

With rare exceptions, CWC will no longer be accepting hard copies. Many major contests have gone this route. All Awards jurors commit to maintaining confidentiality and not sharing submissions received.  Each entries is to be emailed in PDF format to the Awards Manager -

Entrants must submit:

  1. A PDF document of the Novel/Novella/short story
  2. For short stories, include: A PDF copy of the table of contents with the story title 

Email your PDF submission to   with the confirmation number from your submission form and the title of the novel/novella/short story title in the subject line.

More than One Entry:

If entering more than one novel/novella/ short story, send one email with the order number and one of the submission titles in the subject line. In the body of the email, list the titles attached.

If paying by cheque, indicate in the body of the email that you are paying by cheque and include your submission form or online confirmation number if applicable  

The shortlists for all categories will be announced: TBD

The winners will be announced: TBD.

Details will be announced on the website: www.crimewriterscanada.com

Submissions Deadline 15 December 2023 11:59 PST.

 

PDF Links

Les prix Crime Writers of Canada appel de soumissions 2024

Printable entry form