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The Cypress Dome Society's Writers in the Sun series hopes to shine a light on the often-stigmatized subject of mental illness.

It will be hosting the New York Times bestselling author Marya Hornbacher whose autobiographical novels describe her struggle with bipolar disorder, anorexia and bulimia.

Hornbacher will read her work and discuss the power of memoir on Nov. 18 from 3 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. in HPA 119. The event is free and open to the public.

"[Hornbacher] speaks to many issues that affect many students: Many students struggle themselves with mental illness or eating disorders or with alcohol problems and so I think that her story of coming to understand her condition is something that can help those kinds of students," said Lisa Roney, associate professor of the Department of English.

Roney, who is the adviser for the Cypress Dome, emailed Hornbacher on behalf of senior creative writing major Lindsay Kahn who suggested Hornbacher's visit.

"I've read quite a lot of memoirs in my lifetime, and none has had an effect on me quite the way that Marya's has. I read Wasted when I was just a sophomore in high school, and it completely changed my opinion on writing. I always thought non-fiction writing was very clinical. I didn't know it could be so heartbreakingly beautiful," Kahn said an in email.

Hornbacher is the author of one novel and four non-fiction books, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

"After the reading, at 4:30 in the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the John T. Washington Center, Marya Hornbacher is going to be signing her books and selling her books, too. That is an exciting opportunity for anybody who wants to talk to her [to] come out and meet her personally," said Alekasandra Krawczyk, president of The Cypress Dome Society.

Krawczyk said she hopes other students apart from those studying creative writing attend the event because the real subjects discussed in Hornbacher's work can interest them, too.

"Not everyone can appreciate physics. Physics is really really important and engineering is really really important, but everyone can be moved by a good story and so that's why we really feel like we are here for the entire campus," Roney said.

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