James D. Houston

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For the Canadian novelist, see James Archibald Houston . For the Theologian, see James M. Houston.

James Dudley Houston (November 10, 1933 – April 16, 2009) was an American novelist. He wrote nine novels in total.

Houston was born in San Francisco, where his parents had migrated from Quanah, Texas, a small town near Oklahoma. Their story kindled an interest in treks and quests that intensified when he met his future wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki, whose family had immigrated to California from Japan.

He attended Lowell High School and San José State University where he met Jeanne Wakatsuki, whom he would marry in 1957. Houston co-authored his wife's autobiographical memoir, Farewell to Manzanar, about her experiences in the Manzanar internment camp. The book became a bestseller after it was published in 1973.

Houston was the winner of two American Book Awards, a Joseph Henry Jackson Award for Fiction and the Humanitas Prize. [1]

Snow Mountain Passage (2001) was inspired by a personal link to the ill-fated Donner Party of early Californian history.[2]


Houston died of complications of lymphoma, aged 75, in Santa Cruz, California. He is survived by his widow and their three children: Joshua Houston, Corinne Houston Traugott, and Gabrielle Houston Neville.


  1. ^ Dunn, Geoffrey (2009-04-21). "Elegy for James D. Houston". Santa Cruz Weekly. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  2. ^ "James D. Houston dies at 75; novelist, essayist whose works explored California", Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2009 .

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