As our director Ann Chadwick used to be a bookseller back in the day, we were thrilled to support the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) to announce the appointment of their new Booksellers Champion as National Crime Reading Month begins across the UK.
Best-selling author Elly Griffiths has taken on the role which aims to build links between crime authors and bookshops.
The CWA, which aims to support, promote and celebrate the crime genre and its authors, was founded in 1953 by John Creasey. It hosts National Crime Reading Month throughout June, promoting crime author events online and in usual times at festivals, libraries and bookshops.
Elly Griffiths said: “This last year has emphasised the importance of bookshops. We need books more than ever and it seems that crime novels are especially popular in difficult times. I’m delighted to be a CWA Booksellers Champion, working with these wonderful people and places to ensure that readers have access to the very best of crime fiction.”
Elly Griffiths is the pen-name of author Domenica de Rosa. A former editorial director for children’s books at Harper Collins, she published her first novel, The Italian Quarter, in 1998 under her own name. A holiday in Norfolk inspired her to write what would become the bestselling novel The Crossing Places, the first novel in the Dr Ruth Galloway series of mystery novels and her first novel as Elly Griffiths. She is also the author of the popular Stephens and Mephisto novels and several standalones, including The Postscript Murders, shortlisted for this year’s Gold Dagger.
Elly Griffiths will be supported in the new role by fellow crime authors, Vaseem Khan and William Shaw. A Times bestseller, Vaseem is the author of two crime series set in India, the Baby Ganesh Agency series set in modern Mumbai, and the Malabar House historical crime novels set in 1950s Bombay. The first in the series, Midnight at Malabar House, is shortlisted for this year’s Historical Dagger, sponsored by Sapere Books. William Shaw worked as a journalist for over twenty years and is author of the DS Alexandra Cupidi series – and the standalone bestseller The Birdwatcher. He also writes the acclaimed Breen & Tozer crime series set in sixties London.
Aims of the Booksellers Champion programme include supporting bookshops nationwide through putting them in touch with crime authors to speak at events and via the CWA’s dedicated platforms for both writers and readers, including sister association the Crime Readers’ Association, and promoting National Crime Reading Month to help drive crime book sales.
Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said: “We are delighted that Elly, with the valuable support of Vaseem and William, has become our Booksellers Champion. As one of the largest crime genre communities in the UK, the CWA is well placed to connect authors, readers and bookshops. We all need to work together after a challenging year for bricks and mortar bookshops, which are so vital to the reader and author experience.”
The CWA supports author members, alongside literary agents, publishers, bloggers and editors with a monthly magazine and website. It set up the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA) as a free network to give readers news and information, as well as offer tips for new writers working in the genre. Its marketing platforms include social media and publications such as the CRA Newsletter, which goes to 12,000 readers, and Red Herrings, issued to 800 CWA members.
The CWA already has two Library Champions, crime novelists Priscilla Masters and John Dean, helping raise awareness of the value of libraries and their staff. Crime fiction is the most borrowed genre.