Joshua Horwitz ’91, a student at Wilkes University’s graduate creative writing program was awarded the 2013 Beverly Blakeslee Hiscox ’58 Scholarship. The scholarship was established by Hiscox’s children to honor their mother’s service to Wilkes University as a trustee from 1986-2003, and first preference is given to a non-traditional student with family responsibilities. Horwitz is pursuing his master of arts in creative nonfiction, studying memoir under his mentor Beverly Donofrio ’78, author of Riding In Cars With Boys (1992) and, most recently, Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace (2013). Horwitz’s work-in-progress, titled Once Upon a Mania, explores a week-long sleepless manic episode he entered while completing his senior thesis at Wesleyan which then exploded into bipolar disorder. The book follows his descent into mental illness, homelessness, and his ensuing healing process.
Donofrio recalls her first meeting with Horwitz: “’Hi, I’m Joshua Horwitz. I was put into remedial English at Wesleyan, too,’ was how Joshua introduced himself to me at the low residency MFA in creative writing program where I teach. I knew he was referring to the scene in my first memoir, when I was sent to remedial English. I asked, ‘Did it help?’ and he admitted ‘Not enough. I was asked to take it again.’
“I hadn’t planned to take on a new student to mentor that semester, but I couldn’t resist, especially once I read his opening chapter. Joshua suffered through bipolar disorder, spiraled out of his mind while still at Wesleyan, later lived in an antique Chrysler next to his other car, a bulletproof BMW, in a garage in New York City, and somehow came out the other side, happily married, a craniosacral therapist, a member of a local gospel choir, and a writer. It’s a triumphant story told with humor and, at times, a wild feeling of what mania must be like, which reinforces what I already knew: There’s a lot to be said for being placed in remedial English at Wesleyan.”