The Mason Award was established by the board of directors of Fall for the Book to recognize authors who have made extraordinary contributions to bringing literature to a wide reading public.
The award is named for George Mason, one of the founding fathers of the U.S., from whom the university also takes its name. The author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Mason is known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights" and served as an early proponent of freedom of speech. The Mason Award serves as a reminder of Mason’s ideals and efforts and celebrates the freedom of speech he helped secure.
The award is presented after a reading by the recipient as a highlight of the annual Fall for the Book Festival. The recipient receives a monetary award as well as the Mason Award plaque.
Previous winners of the Mason Award include:
The 2012 Mason Award will be presented to Neil Gaiman on Friday, September 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, on George Mason University's Fairfax, Virginia, campus. The general public can make reservations for this event on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 15; email firstname.lastname@example.org with the event you wish to attend and the names of each person attending. Neil Gaiman will not be signing books at the close of the award presentation; however pre-signed copies of the 10th anniversary edition of American Gods will be available for sale before and after the event.