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.

Articles by Mimi Swartz

Knowing My Place

Feb 11, 2014 By Mimi Swartz

Woodland Heights may not be the fanciest neighborhood in Houston, or the quietest, or the coolest (and it can be a little full of itself), but it’s mine.

Raze the Roof

Dec 6, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Houston put a man on the moon and performed the first artificial heart transplant. So why can’t it save the Eighth Wonder of the World?

Failure Is Not an Option

Sep 17, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Last year, UT forced prominent track-and-field coach Bev Kearney to resign because of her affair with a student. Now she’s fighting back, with a lawsuit that opens a window onto the world of high-stakes collegiate athletics—a window that many people would just as soon keep closed.

San Antonio Rose

Jan 24, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

I used to think my hometown was a sleepy, slow-moving place where nothing much would ever happen. But forty years after I left, the city is a bustling, economically vibrant, progressive place I hardly recognize—in a good way.

James Turrell’s Skyspace, Houston

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Houston and that brilliant artist of light James Turrell have proved to be an enduring couple, what with the California native’s inspiring work at the Live Oak Friends Meeting house and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. But the Skyspace installation Turrell created to honor Rice University’s centennial is perhaps…

Home Front Lines

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

For too many veterans, the emotional scars of war go untreated. An innovative group of Harris County politicians, judges, attorneys, and health care workers—most of whom are veterans themselves—is aiming to fix that.

Books
The One-Question 
Interview With 
Steve Coll

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

The author of Private Empire: ExxonMobile and American Power answers the question: In terms of difficulty, how would you compare reporting on Exxon with the reporting you did for your previous book, The Bin Ladens?

Below the Surface

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

In 1996 a powerful South Texas ranching clan accused ExxonMobil of sabotaging wells on the family’s property. Thirteen years, millions of dollars in legal fees, and one state Supreme Court opinion later, the biggest oil field feud of its time is still raging.

Downward Dog

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Over the past fifteen years, John Friend turned his Woodlands–based Anusara style of yoga into an internationally popular brand. Then, in the space of a few weeks, it became hopelessly twisted amid a wild series of accusations of sexual and financial improprieties.

terry grier hisd superintendent
Super Collider

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Terry Grier is the hard-charging, reform-minded, optimistic superintendent of the largest school district in the state. He’s also the most divisive, embattled, and despised man in Houston. Did it have to be this way?

The Not So Happy Campers

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

For more than seven decades, Camp Mystic has been one of the prettiest, happiest, and most exclusive destinations in Texas. But after a bitter, multimillion-dollar legal battle, the very thing that the owners cherished—family—may be the force that tears the camp apart for good.

Eva Almighty

Jan 21, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

There are prettier women in Hollywood. There are more-talented actresses on TV and in the movies. So how to explain the charmed, celebrated existence that is la vida Longoria?

The Fab Flacks

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

The nouvelle stars of Houston society are none other than Becca Cason and Holly Moore, the founders of the hippest, most with-it PR machine in the city.

Law and Disorder

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

During his lifetime, he captivated Houston with his courtroom brilliance, outsized ambition, and high-dollar lifestyle. But in the year since John O’Quinn’s tragic death, a bitter estate battle has revealed who he really was.

Spills and Bills

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

The BP oil spill hit the small world of Houston’s oil and gas business hard. So now that the well is plugged, who’s up and who’s down?

The Mildcatters

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

The lessons of the eighties boom have been internalized by today’s energy entrepreneurs, who seem nothing like their risk-loving forebears. They’re happy playing it safe, which is why their preferred commodity is gas, not oil.

The Outsider

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

In the post-Washington game, former attorney general Alberto Gonzales has fared worse than any other member of the Bush administration. Why?

The Gospel According to Matthew

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Why does a rich Houston investment banker spend his days traveling the globe, preaching to the uninformed and indifferent that the world’s supply of crude oil is in steep decline and the end of life as we know it is very, very near? Maybe because it is.

Eva vs. Goliath

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

After James and Linda Rowe were killed in a grisly refinery explosion in Texas City in 2005, their wild-child daughter could have taken a modest settlement and started to rebuild her life in a small Louisiana border town. Instead, she chose to fight—and brought a multibillion-dollar oil company to its knees.

The Good Wife

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Is she a “saccharine phony”? A closet liberal? A foot soldier—or a rebel—in the culture wars? The truth about Laura Bush is that her ambiguity makes her a model first lady: a blank screen upon which the public can project its own ideas about womanhood.

Abortion Street

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

Sixteen years after Roe v. Wade, all the bitterness and horror of the abortion fight can be found at a single site in Dallas.

The Dark Knight

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

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.

Downsizing Houston

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

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.

My Life

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

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.

Lynn Wyatt

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

I had no clue about the amount of magic Texas held. Texas had a persona all its own, and I was proud to be a little smidgen part of it.

Children of the Storm

Jan 20, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

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.

The Menil Divorces the Art Guys

Jan 14, 2013 By Mimi Swartz

The Menil removed "The Art Guys Marry a Plant," a controversial performance piece, from its collection, a move that is stirring up Houston's art scene once again. 

11/22/2013

Dec 1, 2012 By Mimi Swartz

In one year the eyes of the world will turn to Dallas's Dealey Plaza for the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Is the city ready?

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives

Jul 31, 2012 By Mimi Swartz

Read this National Magazine Award-winning story about how the Legislature slashed funding for women’s health programs in 2011 and launched an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically changed the state’s priorities. The battle continues raging, and the stakes could not be higher.