Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association has announced that Scottish novelist Val McDermid is “the recipient of this year’s prestigious CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, which honours outstanding achievement in the field of crime writing.”
As the CWA explains on its Web site, Diamond Dagger nominees “have to meet two essential criteria: first, their careers must be marked by sustained excellence, and second, they must have made a significant contribution to crime fiction published in the English language, whether originally or in translation. The award is made purely on merit without reference to age, gender, or nationality.”
The 54-year-old McDermid has been publishing novels ever since 1987, when Report for Murder, the first of her books featuring freelance journalist Lindsay Gordon, was released. She has since composed works in two others series, one featuring Manchester private eye Kate Brannigan (Dead Beat, Star Struck), the other starring criminal psychologist Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan (The Wire in the Blood, The Fever in the Bone). McDermid has also penned five standalone thrillers, among them A Place of Execution (1999) and last year’s A Darker Domain. The CWA release announcing her Diamond Dagger win notes that McDermid wrote “the popular ITV series Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green, …[which] ran for six series,” and that a three-part ITV drama was made of A Place of Execution and broadcast in the UK in 2008; that mini-series aired in two parts last November in the States.
In addition to the Diamond Dagger, McDermid has picked up a number of noteworthy commendations, including the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel, the Anthony Award for Best Novel, the Sherlock Award for Best Crime Novel, the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel, the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, and the Stonewall Writer of the Year Award.
Responding to today’s news, McDermid said: “I’m delighted to be admitted to this very select group of crime writers. To be awarded the CWA Carter Diamond Dagger is a distinction every writer dreams of. It’s been an amazing 12 months--inducted into the Hall of Fame [at the ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards ceremony], elected to an Honorary Fellowship at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, and now the Diamond Dagger. But my readers can be reassured about one thing--I’m not going to rest on my laurels. There are still plenty of mountains for me to climb.”
McDermid follows last year’s winner, Andrew Taylor (Bleeding Heart Square), in the succession of Diamond Dagger recipients. Prior winners include Sue Grafton, John Harvey, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, and Lawrence Block. The date and circumstances under which McDermid will receive her Dagger are “yet to be confirmed.”
READ MORE: “Val McDermid ‘Gobsmacked’ by Diamond Dagger Award,” by Michelle Pauli (The Guardian); “Val McDermid,” by Martin Edwards (Do You Write Under Your Own Name?); “The CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award 2010 Goes to ... Val McDermid: A Report and Photos,” by Ayo Onatade and Mike Stotter (Shots).