British Crime Writing Archive | Gladstone's Library

British Crime Writing Archive (CWA and Detection Club papers)

History and Provenance

The Crime Writers Association and the Detection Club are two of the UK’s most prominent societies for the promotion and promulgation of crime writing. The CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasy; they award the prestigious Dagger Prizes and support their author members. Since 2017, the CWA have run the annual Alibis in the Archives event here at Gladstone’s Library.

The Chair of the Crime Writers Association is the crime writer Martin Edwards. In his capacity as CWA Archivist, Martin worked with Gladstone’s Library to make the CWA archives available to the public in the Library’s residential setting. The CWA deposits began in 2015; in 2016 the papers of the Detection Club were also deposited. The collection is now known as the British Crime Writing Archive, a nationally-significant archive for crime writing in the UK.

The Detection Club was founded in 1930 by a group of British mystery writers, including Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ronald Knox, and many more. The first president was G. K. Chesterton, and all members agreed to adhere to Knox’s Commandments in their writing. An extraordinary article from The New York Times was published in September 1979, describing the Detection Club’s ‘Uncommon Order of Initiation’.

Access and Finding Aid

The archive is currently undergoing full inventory and arrangement. It is not currently listed on the Library’s online catalogue but basic finding aids for the CWA and DC elements are available on request. Please send requests to All archives and special collections can only be accessed via a Request to Read Restricted Items form, which must be submitted at least fourteen days in advance of your visit.

Arrangement and Description

The archive consists of the working documentation and correspondence pertaining to the activities of the Crime Writers Association and the Detection Club, as well as discrete collections relating to the work of several crime writers.

The CWA section includes correspondence and documentation relating to the awarding of Dagger Awards, as well as a complete run of the Association’s newsletter Red Herrings

Additional Information

The collection has attracted unprecedented interest and will certainly outgrow Gladstone’s Library. Anyone interested in hosting a section of the archive should get in touch via


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