To assist aspiring authors, the family of the late Mary Roberts Rinehart began a number of years ago awarding small grants to writers whose work showed particular promise. These grants were given to honor Ms. Rinehart, a writer of fiction and nonfiction, whose work was popular in the earlier decades of the 1900s. In 1983, the Rinehard family established The Mary Roberts Rinehart Fund at George Mason University to finance annual grants to promising writers. Currently, three grants are awarded in spring for the best nominated manuscript in fiction, in non-fiction, and in poetry.
Candidates for awards in fiction and nonfiction should submit a freestanding entry, such as a short story or a self-contained section of a book. No entry in fiction or nonfiction should exceed 20 pages. Candidates in poetry should submit 1 poem, up to 10 pages in length. The competition is open to any currently enrolled George Mason students, graduate or undergraduate; students are limited to one submission. Once a writer receives this award, he or she may not apply in another year, even in a different genre.