CWA made the announcement in
early January that the 2010 Cartier Diamond Dagger was to be given to
best-selling author Val McDermid, it was without doubt one of the most
award, now in its
twenty-fifth year, remains sponsored by Cartier UK Limited, and honours
outstanding achievement in crime writing.
ceremony took place on Thursday 6 May at
the Gore Hotel in Kensington. The
that it was the same day as the elections did not stop a huge number of
well-wishers from converging on the hotel to join Val in celebrating
in recognition of her work, which spans over twenty years.
the CWA committee meeting, it was the
incoming CWA Chairman’s first official duty, and one which
Tom Harper did very
well indeed. He welcomed the guest of honour, sponsor and supporters to
with a toast in champagne.
a brief introduction, he pointed out that this
was the silver anniversary of the Diamond Dagger, and paid tribute to
as the CWA's longest-standing sponsor and supporter.
year’s Dagger was presented to Val by Cartier
UK Limited’s Managing Director, Arnaud Bamberger. It is the
Dagger ceremony in which Monsieur Bamberger has been involved, and one
is happy to continue to support – as he has told us on many
occasions he is
very proud to be associated with the award presented to his beloved
speech, Monsieur Bamberger paid homage to
Val and her work. It was quite a concession – as a Chelsea supporter
himself – that he also
mentioned Raith Rovers. There is no mystery that Val loves this
of which she is a sponsor. When he mentioned Thierry Henry, Val quipped
the French footballer “was better at handball”.
the award Val gave a very moving speech
in which she paid tribute to all those who have supported her writing
years and the pleasure she felt in being honoured with the Diamond
Award. She said:
"I'm delighted to
be admitted to this very select group of crime writers. To be awarded
Cartier Diamond Dagger is a distinction every writer dreams
her early school days, she told us that
they were positively unhelpful when she wanted to go to Oxford. It was
her English teacher’s
determination to get Val away from a grim childhood that made him give
free time to help her prepare for the exam.
When she went into journalism, she mentioned that it was
mistaken belief that it had something to do with writing”. She added that it provided
starting point for learning how to drink. A tradition kept up by many a
paid tribute to the late-greats, such as
Christie, Marsh and Allingham, all of whom had inspired her, and
such as Colin Dexter, Ruth Rendell and P.D. James. She thanked her
at Harper Collins, Julia Wisdom, and then David Shelley, her current
Little, Brown, for encouraging her to push the boundaries. Also helping Val celebrate
were her partner
Kelly Smith and her agent Jane Gregory.
the evening the dagger was
on full display, and CWA members wandered up to view the magnificent
trophy. I swear you
could see it in
their eyes: “One day, this will be mine.”
The event was fun, with the canapés and
champagne arriving more
regularly than the Gatwick Express. Mind you, a small group of people
determined to hijack the food as soon as it appeared – you
know who you are!
also a large number of her fellow crime
writers in attendance amongst whom were Andrew Taylor (last
Colin Dexter, Meg Gardiner, Stella Duffy, Mick Herron, Priscilla
Natasha Cooper, Laura Wilson, Keith Miles, Simon Brett
and Judith Cutler to name a few.
Others present included Myles Allfrey and
Adrian Muller (the co-hosts of CrimeFest in Bristol), Thalia
Proctor, Selina Walker (from
Transworld), Geoffrey Bailey and Krystyna Green (Constable Robinson).
certainly been a good year so far for Val
McDermid. Place of Execution recently won an Edgar
Award for Best TV Episode
Teleplay whilst A Darker Domain was a winner at the annual
Reviewers' Choice Awards which were announced by RT Book
(Romantic Times) in the PI/Police Procedural category. A
was also shortlisted in the Mystery/Thriller section of the Los Angeles