College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Tom Franklin Wins the CWA Gold Dagger 2011

Tom Franklin is the winner of the 2011 CWA Gold Dagger, for Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter published by Macmillan. The announcement was made at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards on 7th October 2011. Tom Franklin said “What an amazing long list! What an amazing short list! I’m truly happy just for the company, and everything else is gravy. All my thanks.”

The judges called his novel“A poignant suspense novel drenched in the languid atmosphere of small-town Mississippi where police investigate the murder of a local teenage girl.”

Synopsis: Amos, Mississippi, is a quiet town. Silas Jones is its sole law enforcement officer. The last excitement here was nearly twenty years ago, when a teenage girl disappeared on a date with Larry Ott, Silas’s one-time boyhood friend. The law couldn’t prove Larry guilty, but the whole town has shunned him ever since.

Then the town’s peace is shattered when someone tries to kill the reclusive Ott, another young woman goes missing, and the town’s drug dealer is murdered. Woven through the tautly written murder story is the unspoken secret that hangs over the lives of two men – one black, one white.

Judges’ comments: Larry and Silas, white and black, boyhood friends in rural Mississippi thirty years ago, are separated by an apparent crime that changes their lives. A poignant suspense novel drenched in the languid atmosphere of small-town Mississippi where police investigate the murder of a local teenage girl. The novel explores fractured friendships and families as the legacy of racism, poverty, loneliness and misplaced suspicion from decades back.

Tom Franklin is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and teaches in the University of Mississippi’s MFA programme and lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, and their children. There is more information about him on the Mississippi Writers & Musicians website.

Three other authors were shortlisted for this year’s coveted prize, in alphabetical order:
Steve Hamilton The Lock Artist (Orion)
A.D. Miller Snowdrops(Atlantic Books)
Denise Mina The End of the Wasp Season (Orion)

Another four were longlisted – details at the foot of the page.

To be eligible in this round, books must have had their first UK publication between 1 June 2010 and 31 May 2011.