Joshua Wolf Shenk is an essayist, author, and creative strategist based in New York City. He is a correspondent for Slate.com, and a contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, Time, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and the national bestseller Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, edited by Nell Casey. His essay for The Atlantic, "What Makes Us Happy," was the most read article in the history of TheAtlantic.com, He is the author of Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, which was named one of the best books of 2005 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and has won awards from The Abraham Lincoln Institute, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the National Mental Health Association.

Shenk's work on Lincoln's Melancholy drew an invitation from the Library of Congress to conceive and edit the official publication of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial exhibition at the Library. The resulting book, In Lincoln's Hand, co-edited by Harold Holzer, features original Lincoln's original manuscripts with original essays by luminaries ranging from John Updike and Toni Morrison to Liam Neeson and Steven Spielberg to Presidents Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Shenk has served as vice-chairman of the board for Stories at the Moth and director of the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College. He is a consultant to the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center, where he develops creative programs, including Arts in Mind, a conversation series on the intersections of the arts and mental health.

Shenk's current project is a study on creative pairs, which kicked off on September 7, 2010 with a series on Slate.com and continues in a Facebook group and in a forthcoming blog.

Shenk was a 2005-06 fellow in non-fiction literature at the New York Foundation for the Arts. His other honors include the Rosalynn Carter fellowship in mental health journalism at the Carter Center, a Japan Society Media Fellowship, the Frank Whiting scholarship at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Norman Mailer Center.

 

mail[at]shenk[dot]net