Beck Lecture Series Hosts Denison Alumna Writer Pam Houston '83
Posted: February 7, 2005
The Denison University Beck Lecture series continues with a lecture by Denison graduate and fiction writer Pam Houston at 8 p.m., Monday (Feb. 14), in the Burton Morgan Lecture Hall. The talk is free and open to the public. Houston graduatedsumma cum laudefrom Denison in 1983. She also earned a master of arts degree at the University of Utah in 1992. She returned to campus last May (2004) to receive an honorary doctorate.
Houston's first novel,Sight Hound, was just published in January of this year. The novel is an exceptional love story involving an enlightened three-legged dog, a younger, more playful four-legged one, a brazenly tough cat, and the very tenacious but baffled humans in their lives who learn, though not without a few mistakes, from their wisdom.
Professor David Baker, a friend and colleague of Houston, champions her first novel. "Sight Houndis a beautiful haunting narrative, told in the point of view of a dog. I would beg any student never to try this, but Pam's book is the real thing. In it, the sympathy with the animal world yields a deeper sympathy for the human one," he says. Baker and Houston taught together at Denison in 1991-92. "We shared a big office in the middle of the second floor of Fellows Hall, and we each had incredible winters. My daughter Katie was born in February of 1992 and Pam's first book, the great best-sellingCowboys are My Weaknesswas published the same month. We were joyous and bone-tired together," said Baker.
Houston has authored two collections of linked short stories,Cowboys are My Weakness, which was the winner of the 1993 Western States Book Award and has been translated into nine languages, andWaltzing the Cat, winner of the Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century.
Houston has published fiction and nonfiction -- "The Bitch in the House," "Dog is My Copilot," "Some of My Best Friends" -- in numerous anthologies and magazines, including the New York Times, O, Elle, and National Geographic Adventure. A collection of autobiographical essays about travel and home, "A Little More About Me," was published in 1999 and her first stage play, "Tracking the Pleiades," was produced in Colorado in 2002. Houston also collaborated on a historical book, "Tomboy Bride: A Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West," which was published in 1997.
The director of creative writing at the University of California-Davis, Houston also teaches at numerous writers' conferences and festivals in the U.S. and abroad. When she is not in California, she lives in Creede or Denver, Colo. She is a licensed river guide and a horsewoman and has worked as a bartender and flag woman on a highway crew. Baker comments, "Pam is one of the most adventurous, capable, surprising young fiction writers I know -- and one of the best pals I have in the writing world."
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- Denison graduate and fiction writer Pam Houston will present a lecture as part of the University Beck Lecture Series; 8 p.m., Monday (Feb. 14) in the Burton Morgan Lecture Hall. Free and open to the public. Call (740) 587-6207 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
For press inquiries:
- Barbara Stambaugh
- Position Title
- Director, Media Relations
- Primary Email
- Business Phone
- (740) 587-8575