Gass’s standing among his generation’s most highly-regarded writers is unquestioned. He also was close friends with many of them, such as William Gaddis, Stanley Elkin and Donald Barthelme. He would often participate in co-interviews, panels and other activities with these esteemed writers, as well as others, and he has written many introductions and dedications praising them and their works.

In the 1980s and early 1990s Gass took part in writer-exchange conferences with both the U.S.S.R. and China. He traveled to both countries with other American writers such as William Gaddis, Allen Ginsberg, David Halberstam, Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, Leslie Silko, Gary Snyder, Studs Terkel, and others.

Gass has also participated in several commissions, committees, juries, etc. to give publication opportunities, grants and awards to his peers, including: the National Book Awards (three times), Pen/Faulkner Prize, American Academy of Arts & Letters, National Endowment for the Arts, Iowa Writers Workshop, Pen/Nabokov, Truman Capote Literary Criticism Award, and more.