Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, the daughter of first- and second-generation Japanese-American parents, was born in 1934 in Inglewood, California. During World War II, when more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans were interned in camps set up by the U.S. government, Houston and her family spent nearly four years in one of those camps, Manzanar, located in the desert between California and Nevada. Her book, Farewell to Manzanar, co-authored with James D. Houston, is the true story of her family’s experience during and after internment. Houston has also written a novel, The Legend of Fire Horse Woman, as well as many essays and short stories first collected in Beyond Manzanar: Views of Asian American Womanhood and now widely anthologized. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Humanities Prize and the Christopher Award, both for the screenplay Farewell to Manzanar; an award from the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Wonder Woman award; the U.S.-Japan Cultural Exchange Fellowship; an Arts American Traveling Lectureship in Asia; and a Rockefeller Foundation residency at Bellagio, Italy. Houston lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and three children.
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