Go to New York State Writers Institute

Pam Houston
Pam Houston

February 15, 2005
4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
Humanities 354
8:00 p.m. Reading
Recital Hall, PAC
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Sight Hound

Cowboys are My WeaknessKnown for her portrayal of women who take on challenging physical landscapes in order to capture the hearts of the men they love, Pam Houston first gained popular success in 1992 with her best-selling short story volume Cowboys are My Weakness. The work won the 1993 Western States Award and was named a New York Times Notable Book. With stories such as How to Talk to a Hunter, Pregnancy and other Natural Disasters, and Men Before Ten A.M., Houston portrays rugged, western men with low-level communication skills and the women who are smitten with them.

"Houston is praised for bringing a female perspective to the story of the loner facing down nature and the outdoors, a perspective that engages the wilderness as much as it challenges it." - Kathryn West, Dictionary of Literary Biography

Beyond romantic affairs, however, Houston also explores relationships between women and other women and relationships of women with their parents.

Sight Hound, due to be released in January of 2005, is Houston's most recent work and her first novel. It is the humorous and endearing story of Rae, a Colorado playwright who has had a lifetime of disastrous relationships with men, and her dog, Dante, a wolfhound who is the love of her life.

"This is a dangerous book. Don't read it unless you have ever loved a dog up close or admired one from afar." - Maxine Kumin, author of Jack and Other New Poems

"Houston's considerable genius is to take the simple story of a woman's love for and devotion to her dog, and in the end, offer us a new and genuine way to live our lives--with grace and gratitude. I'm reading Sight Hound again, because any good story (and this is one of the best) is never the same story twice." - John Defresne, author of Johnny Too Bad

"a wry and tender novel," [praising Houston's] "gift for capturing the dynamic of unorthodox webs of relationships . . . on pleasing display in this gruffy warmhearted novel."- Publishers Weekly

Waltzing the Cat

Waltzing the Cat (1998), Houstons' second short story collection, tracks Lucy O'Rourke, a photographer, her friend Henry, and her not-quite-lover Carter. Lucy's various adventures take place in settings as diverse as California, Colorado, and Ecuador and explore love, strength, a troubled childhood, and a woman's relationship to her body.

Also a best-seller, "Waltzing the Cat" received the Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction.

"bold, energetic and exhilarating; its laconic tone and meandering structure perfectly reflect the contradictions of the life contained therein." - The London Times

A Little More About Me

Houston followed her short story collections with a book of twenty-four essays titled A Little More about Me (1999) that cover the time span of the five years of her life during which she visited forty-three countries and five continents. She is also the editor and author of an introduction to the volume Women on Hunting: Essays, Fiction, and Poetry (1995). Her short stories and essays have appeared in such publications as Mademoiselle, Mississippi Review, Ploughshares, Elle, and the New York Times. Her pieces How to Talk to a Hunter and The Best Girlfriend You Never Had were included in the Best American Short Stories. Houston currently makes her home in Colorado and California where she is the director of creative writing at University of California, Davis.

Tomales Bay Workshops
Pam Houston
Writers Online Magazine Article
Sunday Gazette Article