Joshua Wolf Shenk is a curator, essayist, and author, most recently, of Powers of Two: Seeking the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs (Eamon Dolan Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). His magazine pieces include cover stories in Harper’s, Time, and The Atlantic, where his essay "What Makes Us Happy?" was the most read article in the history of that magazine’s website. His work has also appeared in Slate, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and the national bestseller Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, edited by Nell Casey. His first book, Lincoln’s Melancholy, was named one of the best books of 2005 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and won awards from The Abraham Lincoln Institute, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the National Mental Health Association.
When he’s not reporting and writing, Josh spends his time leading and supporting creative communities. He is a curator, storyteller and advisor to The Moth; vice-chair emeritus of the board of directors, he currently serves on the general council. He is also a past director of the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College, where he curated programs and festivals and directed a small literary press. Shenk consults to the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center, where he directs the Erikson Prize for Mental Health Media and Arts in Mind, a conversation series on the creative arts and psychology, co-hosted by the New School in New York City.
Josh has taught creative writing at The New School, New York University, Washington College, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and in private groups. His other publications include In Lincoln's Hand, co-edited by Harold Holzer, an anthology of original original manuscripts with original essays by luminaries including John Updike, Toni Morrison, and Tony Kushner.
Other honors include residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Norman Mailer Center; a Rosalynn Carter fellowship in mental health journalism at the Carter Center; a Japan Society Media Fellowship; and the Frank Whiting scholarship at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Josh was a 2005-06 fellow in non-fiction literature at the New York Foundation for the Arts.
He lives in Silverlake and is the father to a four-year-old boy who, like Josh, has webbed toes.