We are the national professional association 
for mystery and crime writers in Canada.


Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) is a national non-profit organization for Canadian mystery and crime writers, associated professionals, and others with a serious interest in Canadian crime writing. Our mission is to promote Canadian crime writing and to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers with readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and media.


Crime Writers of Canada is committed to fostering and promoting diversity, inclusivity, accessibility, and equity within its membership and the larger Canadian crime publishing community.

We define diversity to include people of different backgrounds, ages, abilities, body shapes, racialized identities, cultures, nationalities, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, beliefs, religions, socio-economic statuses, and more.

We firmly believe that our strength and success is built on promoting a wide range of voices and experiences within the scope of our mandate as a professional organization.

What is Crime Writing?

The field of Crime Writing is a broad category that includes crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, and thriller writing, as well as fictional or factual accounts of criminal doings and crime-themed literary works. Cross-over tales such as romantic suspense and speculative thrillers are also considered part of the genre. In broader terms, it includes any work of fact or fiction that features crime or mystery as a central element.

Our history

Crime Writers of Canada was established as a professional organization in June 1982 by Derrick Murdoch, the Globe and Mail’s crime fiction reviewer at the time, and other writers interested in the quality of Canadian mystery and crime writing. The following year the Arthur Ellis (AE) Awards for Excellence in Crime Writing were launched.  In 2021, the name was changed to The Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence.

The Derrick Murdoch Award was created in honour of Derrick Murdoch’s inspired creation of CWC. It is awarded every other year to a Canadian crime/mystery writer who has made a notable contribution to the genre. In 2014, the Grand Master Award was created to recognize an author's lifetime achievement in crime writing. The Grand Master award is presented in alternate years.

In 2005, a written constitution formalized the rules and principles of CWC, and in 2006 the organization was federally incorporated as a non-profit corporation by the Canadian Ministry of Industry.

As a non-profit organization, our activities are made possible by hard-working volunteers and committees. Our activities have two main goals: author promotion and professional development.