In 2003, the board of directors of Fall for the Book established the Fairfax Prize to honor outstanding writers for their literary achievements. Recipients of the award are noted for achievements in the following criteria:
The recipient is honored at a special reading and reception during the festival, at which time he or she is given a monetary prize and the Fairfax Prize statue. In 2007, the Fairfax Library Foundation began sponsoring the Fairfax Prize, contributing the prize amount and helping to select the recipient.
Previous winners of the Fairfax Prize include:
Norman Mailer had been scheduled to receive the 2005 Fairfax Prize, but because of health issues, he had to cancel his appearance at the last minute. The festival was very grateful that novelist Pat Conroy agreed to appear on very short notice; he was awarded the first — and only — Fall for the Book Prize, an award that evolved the following year into the Mason Award.