Background and education
Mason was raised in Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...
. He attended The Fieldston School in New York, the University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...
, and also studied literature at Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...
and the University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...
Mason is currently a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine
Harper's Magazine is a monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, with a generally left-wing perspective. It is the second-oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the U.S. . The current editor is Ellen Rosenbush, who replaced Roger Hodge in January 2010...
and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times Magazine is a Sunday magazine supplement included with the Sunday edition of The New York Times. It is host to feature articles longer than those typically in the newspaper and has attracted many notable contributors...
. He has also written for The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...
, The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...
and The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...
. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Bennington College
and at Bard College
where he is Senior Fellow at The Hannah Arendt Center for Ethical and Political Thinking
In 2005, Mason received the National Book Critics Circle
The National Book Critics Circle is an American tax-exempt organization for active book reviewers. Its flagship is the National Book Critics Circle Award....
Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. The NBCC judges called Mason "a critic of unrelenting energy and tough standards. He has exposed scholarly plagiarism, rescued dismissed writers from ignorance and oblivion, smartly scolded faddish novelists...and argued that many of us continue to confuse substance and surface in contemporary writers' work. Masterful at placing writers in dialogue with other writers...he always makes a case for new books he wants people to appreciate, embrace and struggle with." http://www.bookcritics.org/citations/MasonCitation.html
Mason also won the National Magazine Award
The National Magazine Awards are a series of US awards that honor excellence in the magazine industry. They are administered by the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City...
for Reviews and Criticism in 2006, the judges stating: "At once compassionate and ruthless, Wyatt Mason seeks an understanding of his subject with endless erudition and a singular, tireless focus on quality. His criticism moves from the specific to bigger game – a defense of modernism and originality – and he’s not afraid to confront the authors with his findings.” http://www.magazine.org/editorial/about_asme/press_releases/16842.cfm
In May 2008 Mason began to write the blog "Sentences"
for Harper's Magazine online. He ceased writing the blog in May 2009.
Writing Available on the Web
- on Edward P. Jones, from Harpers Magazine
- on E.E. Cummings, from Harper's Magazine
- on First Novels, from Harper's Magazine
- on Zadie Smith, from Harper's Magazine
- on R.K. Narayan, from The New Yorker
- on Javier Marias, from The New Yorker
- on Translation, from The New Republic
- on David Foster Wallace, from The London Review of Books
- on David Foster Wallace, from The New York Review of Books
- on Jonathan Safran Foer, from The London Review of Books
- on Satire, from The New York Times Magazine
- on Louis-Ferdinand Céline from The New York Review of Books