Wednesday, July 01, 2009

THOUGHTS ON DAGGERS


Mike Ripley is always interesting in his Getting Away with Murder column at Shots Magazine.
He comments with reference to the International Dagger short list that it "reflects the love affair between Nordic crime and the chattering classes with five out of the six books being from authors of Scandinavian origin."
I have no argument with the quality of the six nominees but looking back it does seem that there is a danger that the International Dagger is becoming a cosy club with the same authors being nominated regularly to the exclusion of others.

I find the criteria for the various CWA daggers confusing with rules that they have to have been published in English between certain dates and nominated by a UK publisher. The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for instance states in the preamble that the broadest definition of the thriller is used and they can be set in any period and include but are not limited to spy and or action/adventure books.
Could an historical thriller be also considered for both the Ian Fleming and the Ellis Peters? Yes, according to these criteria.

The limitation that the books must have a UK publisher means that an excellent book such as A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell which would be a certain nominee for the Ellis Peters Award may be ineligible.

At the moment I am in the middle of another brilliant historical crime fiction novel End Of The World In Breslau by Marek Krajewski, an author who I interviewed last year here and here.
You can read my review of the first book in his Eberhard Mock series Death in Breslau here.
Here is Fiona Walker's Euro Crime review of the End of The World in Breslau.

I will discuss Marek Krajewski's book next week.

But returning to the subject of the International Dagger here is a list of some of the authors who have NOT been nominated during the four years the dagger has been awarded.

Boris Akunin, Niccolo Ammaniti, Philippe Claudel, Karin Fossum, Mari Jungstedt, Henning Mankell, Natsuo Kirino, Andrea Maria Schenkel, Carlo Lucarelli, Leonardo Padura, Deon Meyer, Yrsa Sigurdadottir, Hans Werner Kettenbach, Camilla Lackberg, Helene Tursten, Liza Marklund, Inger Frimansson and Marek Krajewski.

A formidable list.

9 Comments:

Blogger crimeficreader said...

I think the International Dagger was set up specifically to novels in translation, therefore clearing the way for the Gold/Duncan Lawrie/whatever it's called now to ceoncentrate on home grown. Thus I suspect that books in translation may fall outside the criteria for other daggers too. I am sure someone will correct me, if I am wrong.

It did surprise me that Yrsa Sigurdardottir's Last Rituals was not on the international dagger list. Of the others, I have only read the Theorin and Alvtegen's Shadow, but I consider it of the same quality.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Like cfr, I believe the International Dagger was set up specifically to reward novels in translation so that the translator could be recognised too. I think :o) I loved LAST RITUALS too, and a few others which I would have liked to have seen on the list.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Update I forgot K.O.Dahl from that list.

cfr and Donna obviously Sigurdadottir was far too difficult to spell to get on the list.
I don't think the Ellis Peters is restricted to non translated books but I may be wrong. We do live in the international age of Amazon, Borders and the Book Depository and to restrict nominations to UK publishers only is a bit behind the times.

11:01 AM  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

I have just posted on the next one in the series - My Soul to Take. And just realised I forgot to mention the translation...

Correction coming up.

11:03 AM  
Blogger crimeficreader said...

I suspect the EP may be excluded, along with some of the other daggers, because of the singling out of novels in translation for their own award, but I may be wrong. I suspect the International was meant to be a "cover-all" for such stuff.

By the way, I can't type as fast as I think, therefore my most frequent typo is to leave out a word, sometimes a whole phrase. In my first comment here I left out the word "acknowledge" in the first line.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Maxine said...

I suppose I am a member of the "chattering" classes as defined by Mr Ripley. I don't read the Guardian (so am not 100 per cent a member) but I do have an education, for which I do not apologise when people use faintly derogatory adjectives like "chattering".

Those of us who enjoy translated crime fiction discuss many authors from non-Scandinavian countries (Italy, Germany, France etc), but I think the massive publicity budget given to S. Larsson's novels has stimulated other publishers and the like to promote more Scandinavian crime fiction, and good luck to them. No doubt a "big" novel from somewhere else will emerge in due course and attention will switch to that region. In the meatnime, those of us who enjoy reading a good novel irrespective of where it was written and first published will continue to do so.

Norman, I was most impressed with your list of "non shortlisted". I have read and enjoyed quite a few of them!

Great post, thank you for writing it.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

I find International=translated a bit odd too.
They seem also to have lost some sponsorship this year. The name Duncan Lawrie has disappeared.

2:29 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Kerrie not only has the name Duncan Lawrie gone but most of the sponsorship money for the International and for the Gold Dagger. We are in a deep long lasting recession and sponsorship money is drying up.

2008 International £5,000 to author, £1,000 to translator
2009 International £1,000 to author, £500 to translator

And the Gold Dagger prize implodes from £20,000 down to £2,500.

5:41 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

At first I wondered if this award might become a Fred Vargas exclusive, then a French exclusive. This before the current dominance by Nordic crime novels.

That's quite a list of authors who have not been named.
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11:00 PM  

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