Mimi Swartz

Mimi Swartz, the author, with Sherron Watkins, of Power Failure, The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, is an executive editor of Texas Monthly. Previously, she was a staff writer at Talk, from April 1999 to April 2001, and a staff writer at the New Yorker from 1997 to 2001. Prior to joining the New Yorker, she worked at Texas Monthly for thirteen years. In 1996 Swartz was a finalist for two National Magazine Awards and won in the public interest category for “Not What the Doctor Ordered.” She was also a National Magazine Award finalist for her November 2005 issue story on tort reform, titled “Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!” and won the 2006 John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest, Magazine Journalism, for the same story. In 2013 she won her second National Magazine Award (again in the category of public interest), for “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives,” a compelling look at the state of women’s health care in Texas. 

Over the years, Swartz’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Slate, National Geographic, and the New York Times’ op-ed page and Sunday magazine. It has also been collected in Best American Political Writing 2006 and Best American Sportswriting 2007. She has been a member of the Texas Institute of Letters since 1994. Swartz grew up in San Antonio and graduated from Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts. She now lives in Houston with her husband, John Wilburn, and son, Sam.



A Houston boutique enjoys the high cost of growing up.


True tales from the world of junking.


Sure, a bride needs a groom, but the most important part of any wedding is the dress.


Elliott’s is the Louvre of hardware stores—it’s got flyshooters, fan blades, and three aisles of screws. In other words, it’s heaven.


From goggle that let you see in the dark to voice changers that you sound like Daffy Duck, the Counter Spy Store is stocked for the age of paranoia.

No Commercial Interruptions

You can buy almost anything on shopper’s TV, if you have the patience to sit and watch it.

No Promises

I arrived in Houston at the height of the boom, and left just as the bust began. Along the way I learned what it means to grow up.

You May Not Need It, But You Gotta Have It

Arresta is a toy store for grown-ups, where every item is selected to seduce the slavishly stylish.

Madonna of the Maquiladora

While U.S. businessmen and Mexican bureaucrats see her as the answer to their economic prayers, factory worker Graciela Fernandez just tries to get by—on about 66 cents an hour.

Texas Primer: The Rose Window

The secrets of love seen through a glass, clearly.

The Prince of Pumps

Buying shoes is a passion for some women. Selling shoes is a passion for Doyle Moody. That adds up to a perfect fit.

Behind the Lines

A special celebration.

Flying Solo

With a mother in one city and a father in another, Audrey Reynolds took to the air.

The Self-Destruction of Lance Lalor

Houston’s city controller prided himself on being the most scrupulously honest politician in town. So why did he sign his name to someone else credit card?