Agatha Christie will forever be remembered as one of the great mystery writers of all time, and Malice Domestic has been presenting the annual Agatha Award each year to authors of great traditional mystery literature in her name since 1988. The Agatha Award is presented only to authors who published that award year, and their work must be considered part of the subgenre of "traditional" or "cozy" mystery - that is, it cannot include explicit descriptions of sex, gore, or gratuitous language. Additionally, the genre does not include works that might be considered "hard boiled detective" novels. It is clear that the works honored Malice Domestic are written in the spirit of Agatha Christie.
The annual Malice Domestic convention is held in Washington, DC, and the awards are presented in six categories: Best Novel; Best First Mystery; Best Historical Novel; Best Short Story; Best Non-Fiction; and Best Children's/Young Adult Mystery. The works submitted for consideration may be published as hardcover, paperback, or e-books. The winners of each category are chosen in a truly democratic manner, as each attendee of the convention is given the chance to vote by secret ballot.
Unlike many other literature awards, the Agatha Awards are often presented to women authors, making the subgenre a uniquely welcoming environment for female writers. Some of the past winners include Anne George's Murder on a Girl's Night Out, G.M. Mallett's Death of a Cozy Writer, and Nancy Pickard's The Virgin of Small Plains.
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