Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of the critically acclaimed bookLincolns Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness,will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the West Virginia University Mountainlair Ballrooms.

Shenks presentation is the fourth event in the continuing Festival of Ideas lecture series examining Abraham Lincoln as a politician, historical figure, leader and cultural icon.

Throughout an eight-week period from February to April, a wide array of experts are coming to WVU to discuss why Lincoln matters, examining Lincoln as a politician, historical figure, leader and cultural icon.

The annual Festival of Ideas lecture series represents in microcosm the work that we do at WVU every day,said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.This years festival illuminates Abraham Lincolnhis history, relevance and legacyfrom many angles, including the effect of Lincolns depression on his presidency.

Shenks book, the result of seven years of research, describes the story of Lincolns lifelong battle with depression, how he managed it and how it came to fuel his work.

Lincolns Melancholywas 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. It also made the cover story of both Time and Atlantic Monthly.

Shenk served as chief consultant for a forthcoming History Channel film calledThe Other side of Abraham Lincolnand consulted on TimesMaking of Americaseries.

His essays and articles have appeared in Harpers Magazine, The New Yorker, GQ, The Washington Post and The New York Times. He also served as contributor to the national bestseller,Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression,and is a former editor of The Washington Monthly and has been a correspondent for The New Republic, The Economist and U.S. News and World Report.

In addition to his writing, Shenk teaches writing at New School University in Greenwich Village, N.Y., and serves as vice chair on the board of directors of Stories of the Month, the urban storytelling series.

He is a member of the advisory council to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and a fellow in nonfiction literature at the New York Foundation for the Arts. Other honors include the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship in Mental Health Journalism at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga., the Frank Whiting Scholarship at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell and the Blue Mountain Center.

All Festival presentations are free and open to the public; however, seating is limited to first-come, first-served. They are organized by WVU Arts and Entertainment. More at: