Mimi Swartz's Profile Photo

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.

299 Articles

San Antonio |
January 24, 2013

San Antonio Rose

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.

Art |
January 21, 2013

James Turrell’s Skyspace, Houston

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

Behind the Lines |
January 21, 2013

Home Front Lines

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.

Energy |
January 21, 2013

Below the Surface

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.

The Culture |
January 21, 2013

Downward Dog

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.

News & Politics |
January 21, 2013

Super Collider

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?

Feature |
January 21, 2013

The Not So Happy Campers

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.

Feature |
January 21, 2013

Eva Almighty

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?

Feature |
January 20, 2013

Law and Disorder

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.

Business |
January 20, 2013

The Mildcatters

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.

Energy |
January 20, 2013

The Gospel According to Matthew

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.

Energy |
January 20, 2013

Eva vs. Goliath

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

Politics & Policy |
January 20, 2013

The Good Wife

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.

Business |
January 20, 2013

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.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

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.

Where I'm From |
January 20, 2013

Lynn Wyatt

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.

Feature |
January 20, 2013

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.

Politics & Policy |
July 31, 2012

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives

In 2011 the Legislature slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities. In the eighteen months since then, the conflict has continued to simmer in the courts, on the campaign trail, and

The Culture |
April 17, 2012

The Collapse of Anusara Yoga

John Friend, the founder of Anusara yoga, recently found himself engulfed in a scandal that has piqued the national media's interest. Mimi Swartz reports on the Texas takeaway and what this means for the homegrown practice. 

Art |
March 1, 2012

The Tree of Strife

For a quarter of a century, the Art Guys, Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, have been Houston’s master provocateurs, stirring up discussion with their wacky, thoughtful, and tenaciously marketed “social sculptures.” But have they finally gone too far?

Style & Design |
January 1, 2012

Don’t Mess With River Oaks

Houston has always prided itself as a city that barrels forward into the future, and operates without memory, regret or nostalgia. But when developers began messing with the historic River Oaks Shopping Center, Houstonians raised their hackles.

Energy |
April 30, 2011

Oil Night Long

Amid all the drink tickets, bikini-clad hostesses, and outrageous displays of wealth at the world’s largest expo for independent oilmen, I was determined to get some answers about the future of the business.

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