Case Closed: Crime, Thriller and Mystery Fiction demystified with the C&W Literary Agency

Case Closed is a new programme run by Spread the Word in partnership with C&W literary agency to find and develop new Crime, Thriller and Mystery Fiction writers from diverse backgrounds.  

Case Closed aims to demystify the process of writing a crime, thriller and/or mystery novel from a craft and career perspective and encourage and support more writers from backgrounds underrepresented in UK publishing to write a crime, thriller and/or mystery novel. It has an access fund in place for deaf and disabled writers. 

Running across 2023, Case Closed will provide free and accessible opportunities for unpublished and unagented writers to gain the skills and insight to develop their crime, thriller and/ or mystery novel, including:  

Through the programme, a cohort of writers will be selected for ongoing support with the goal of them going on to be represented by C&W and being published.  

Panel event, Writers’ Survey and ‘Getting Started’ Guide

Spread the Word and C&W would like to better understand the barriers to writers in writing genre fiction and what ongoing support we can offer to encourage more writers to write a crime, thriller or mystery fiction novel. We would love to hear your thoughts through Case Closed survey. By completing it, you could be in with a chance of winning the latest novels by Case Closed authors Tracey Lien, Fiona Cummins, Olivia Kiernan and Elliot Sweeney, and be sent the ‘Getting Started’ guide. The survey closed for responses in May 2023. 

Fiona Cummins, author of the DC Saul Anguish series, created a bespoke ‘Getting Started’ guide to writing crime, thriller and mystery fiction, as well as guided exercises on idea generation. Download it here

Workshops and Agent Seminar

Starting in May, Case Closed will be running a series of online workshops, including: Fiona Cummins on ‘Getting Started’; Olivia Kiernan, author of the Frankie Sheehan series, on plot and structure, and Elliot F. Sweeney, London Writers Awards alumnus and author of The Next to Die, on developing characters. In September two agents from C&W will run a seminar on submissions with an audience Q&A. 

Open to all, the workshops and seminar are free to participate in and will take place on Zoom. All sessions will be auto-captioned and BSL interpreted.

Fiona Cummins on Getting Started 

Thursday 25 May, 6.30pm-8.30pm 

Olivia Kiernan on Plot and Structure 

Thursday 29 June, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Book your place here:

Elliot F. Sweeney on Developing Characters 

Wednesday 5 July, 6.30pm-8.30pm
Book your place here:

C&W Agents on Submissions and Q&A 

Wednesday 13 September, 7pm-8.30pm
Book your place here:

Case Closed First Chapter Competition

The First Chapter Competition is free to enter and open to unpublished and unagented UK-based writers aged 18+ who identify as one or more of the following: 

  • Black, Asian or Global Majority 

  • Deaf and/ or disabled 


  • Working Class 

The competition is open from Wednesday 5 July and closes on Tuesday 26 September. 

The first prize is a one-to-one meeting with crime author Tracey Lien, meetings with agents from C&W and professional development with Spread the Word. Four highly commended placed writers will receive one-to-one meetings with the two agencies.  

There is more information about the Prize, including how to enter, in written English on this page here. There is more information in audio and BSL on this page here.

The winners will be announced in December 2023. 

Access and Access Fund

The programme has an access fund to support deaf and disabled writers. If you require support to fully participate in the programme, for example if you need BSL interpretation or a scribe, please contact us. We’ll be recording each Zoom session and will make the recording available on request. If you would like to discuss your access needs, please contact [email protected] 


If you have any questions about the programme or the access fund, please contact Bobby Nayyar at Spread the Word: [email protected] 

Fiona Cummins has written a free guide: Case Closed: Getting Started in Writing Crime, Thriller and Mystery Fiction about her journey to being an author, definitions of each of the genres with examples, exercises that will help you grow your ideas and further resources to develop your craft.

You can download the guide (PDF format) here:

Demystifying Crime, Thriller and Mystery Fiction from an author’s perspective-  with Tracey Lien

About the Authors

Tracey Lien


Fiona Cummins


Olivia Kiernan


Elliot F. Sweeney


Emma Finn

Literary Agent