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

 2022 Submission Rules for Published Works

(Click here for Unpublished Category Rules)

DEADLINE DECEMBER 15, 2021

The 2022 awards are for books and short stories published in 2021. 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. 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 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 Knuckle Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book sponsored by Simpson & Wellenreiter LLP (Hamilton) with a $300 prize.

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

CRITERIA

  1. First publication; whether in English or French, in the preceding year (2021) 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 is translation is first published in the preceding year (2021); 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.
  2. The book or story fits into the crime-writing genre (see above for our description of "crime genre").
  3. 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).

PLEASE NOTE: A title can only be entered in one category and cannot be changed after submission.

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 The 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.

Special criteria for the 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 the 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 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 3 short stories by the same author that are being entered or if an anthology then 3 short stories 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 3 short stories by the same author that are being entered or if an anthology then 3 short stories with multiple authors.)
  • $33.75 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 (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 three (3) copies of their books directly to CWC.

Please make out your cheque or money order in Canadian funds for the appropriate amount to Crime Writers of Canada. (See address below.)

Or you can pay online using the online entry form. (For multiple entries, please contact: for instructions.)

If you are sending your books through a third party (publisher, Amazon) please e-mail the Awards Manager

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 2021.

For each submission please include:

  • Three (3) copies of each book title OR three (3) photocopies of novella if not published in print

Note: See below for short story submissions

  • 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 OR online payment via the online form

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

SUBMISSIONS

Please send your submission to:

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

Submissions must be postmarked, or courier dated no later than 15 December 2021.

Note: CWC is unable to acknowledge receipt of material. A list of entries will available on our website in January. 

NEW Special Submission criteria for Short Story category: PDF Entries

All entries are asked to be emailed in PDF format to the Awards Manager

Entrants must submit:

  • A PDF document of the short story
  • A PDF copy of the table of contents with the story title

Email your PDF submission to   with the short story title and order number in the subject line.

If entering more than one short story, send one email with the order number and one of the short story 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 on Wednesday, 20 April 2022.

The winners will be announced at the CWC Awards Gala in Toronto on Thursday, 26 May 2022.

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

Submissions must be postmarked, or courier dated no later than 15 December 2021.

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

PDF Links

2022 Submission Rules for the Awards

Printable entry form (For those who prefer printed forms, and are paying by cheque.)

Les prix appel de soumission 2022