About the CWC Awards

The Crime Writers of Canada

Awards of Excellence


Submissions for 2021 Awards open
1 September 2020.


About the Awards

The Awards are for CRIME WRITING and are not restricted to mystery writing. Crime-writing encompasses far more than the traditional whodunit. The crime genre includes crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, and thriller writing, 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

Awards are presented annually in the following categories (pending sufficient numbers.)

For published works:

  • 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

For unpublished novels:

  • The Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript with a $500 prize sponsored by ECW Press

The Awards are open to permanent residents of Canada, or by Canadian citizens living abroad.


The Submission Rules for the Published Categories and Unpublished Category are posted on the first of September.

Unpublished submissions must be received via email by 15 October.

Published submissions must be postmarked or courier dated by 15 December.


Shortlist Events

The CWC Awards of Excellence Shortlist Events take place mid-April in cities across Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa.

Details will be posted and updated on the Home Page in March


Awards Gala

The CWC Awards of Excellence Gala takes place at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, usually the last Thursday in May.

Ticket information and event details will be posted and updated on the Home Page at the end of April.

Contact Information

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

Award Sponsors


Crime Writers of Canada offers sincere thanks to the Engel Family, and our corporate award sponsors...

  ecwpress 150  
  Mystery Weekly  
  RakutenKobo horizontal RGB 
   Shaftesbury Logo 2C RGB  
  wf main 2 1 1  

Crime Writers of Canada would also like to thank everyone in the Canadian publishing community for making
the CWC Awards such a success through the years.