Houston received her bachelor's degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and her master's degree from the University of Utah. She has published a wide variety of works, including two collections of linked short stories, "Cowboys Are My Weakness" and "Waltzing the Cat," two novels, "Sight Hound" and "Contents May Have Shifted," and a collection of essays titled, "A Little More About Me," which were all published by W.W. Norton.
Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards and the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories of the Century anthology. She has been the recipient of several honors and awards for her work, including the Western States Book Award, WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction and the Evil Companions Literary Award.
Houston is currently the director of the creative writing program at the University of California, Davis, and she also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University.
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