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.


The Dark Knight

Inside the fantastic rise and catastrophic fall of Sir Allen Stanford—that high-flying egomaniac with the offshore bank, gold helicopter, Caribbean island, and knack for disposing of other people’s money.

Circle of Influenza

If you need an example of how the world can change in an instant, here is a small blow by blow.

My Life

Trade secrets and true tales from Lynn Wyatt, she of the famously fabulous parties, glamorous couture gowns, rich and entertaining pals (e.g., Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol), and legendary whiskey laugh.

The Grand Gesture

Why Texans stand out in crowds.

Our Very Own Bernie Madoff

Maybe the collapse of the Stanford Group isn’t Enron, but Houston wasn’t about to be left out of the financial scandals.

Downsizing Houston

If the crash that followed the boom hasn’t exactly been our fault, the result has been that same sad sense that maybe we’ll never have fun again.

Children of the Storm

After Hurricane Katrina, Rhonda Tavey selflessly opened her Houston home to a New Orleans evacuee and five of her children. She fed the kids, bathed them, and grew to love them so much that when their mother tried to take them back to Louisiana, she wouldn’t let them go.

Washington Avenue, Houston

The once forgotten corridor emerges as an eclectic enclave.


Why are the UT regents letting Galveston’s only hospital die?

I Don’t Like Ike

Here comes the story of the hurricane.

How Green Is My Bayou?

Increasingly so. Surprise, surprise.

Tour de Farce

Only yesterday, it seems, my mother was taking me to visit colleges. A second later, here I am, enduring this rite of passage from the other side.

The Risk Premium

Most American consumers understand that the invasion of Iraq has contributed to the skyrocketing price of oil. But there’s another reason why we’re paying so much per barrel and gallon: The countries where crude is available in abundance are increasingly dangerous places to operate. Russell Spell, of Conroe, can tell you firsthand.

Child’s Play

Summer vacation is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. We’ve rounded up 68 of our favorite things to do with your toddlers, teens, and every kid in between. Dance the hokey pokey. Rope a horse. Eat way too many hot dogs. Zip down a waterslide. And yes, feed the animals.