Garrison Keillor is an American author of books. He was born on August 7, 1942. People might perhaps best know him as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion”, a radio show that has long aired nationally in United States public radio stations. Working as a radio personality is just one aspect of this talented individual’s capacities, as he is also a columnist, storyteller, humorist, musician, satirist, and author.
He was born in Anoka, Minnesota to his parents Grace and John. His father worked for the post office and did some carpentry as well. John Keillor had strong English ancestry, as Garrison’s grandfather on the paternal side hailed from Ontario, Canada. His grandparents on his mother’s side were immigrants that hailed from Glasgow, Scotland.
Growing up, Keillor’s parents belonged to the fundamentalist Christian group the Plymouth Brethren. He is no longer a member of the Brethren. He stands at over six feet tall (6’3”). After previously going to a Lutheran church for many years, he told a publication that he was going to an Episcopal church.
Garrison Keillor graduated from high school in 1960. From there, he went on to study English at the University of Minnesota. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1966 and started his career in radio broadcasting while at university. Keillor was a frequent visitor to the college radio station there.
He continued to work in radio and pursued a career that started off in 1969. That was when Garrison first began his professional career in radio, in November with Minnesota Public Radio. That relationship continued for some time but ended in 2017 as a result of allegations from a staff member against Keillor.
Garrison started his radio career out hosting what was called The Morning Program. The program aired for three hours every weekday. The show was called A Prairie Home Entertainment.
The show featured not only unusual and eclectic music that departed from the usual classical music played on the station. Garrison did not rest on his laurels in the radio world, however. He was writing quite a bit and was submitting fiction regularly in the hopes that it would be published. His dreams came true and his first story was published in 1970.
He temporarily resigned in 1971 from The Morning Program. The move was a form of protest against what he perceived as interference done on purpose with his choice of music for the programming. When he returned several months later, the show took on a new name and became A Prairie Home Companion.
The show debuted in front of a live audience as a type of variety show styled after the old days. The show aired on July 6, 1974, and included a cast doing music numbers and skits with sound effects and guest musicians playing music.
In addition to having stories and verbal bits and music, the show also featured ad breaks for commercials that would advertise fictional sponsors’ products, like the now famous Powdermilk Biscuits. Garrison would extol the virtues of the biscuits and the product itself through these parody commercials. The show also had several recurring melodramas. These ranged from a detective series featuring Guy Noir and many more. Keillor provided the vocals for many of these characters.
The show was very successful and almost immediately became a cultural touchstone. It ran until 1987. At that time, Keillor decided to bring the show to a close and work on other projects. He launched an additional live radio program in 1989 from N.Y.C. which had a similar format as his previous show. He moved the American Radio Company in 1992 to Saint Paul and changed the name back. it has continued to air and is a regular favorite for listeners on Saturday nights.
He is also the author of the Lake Wobegon series of books. The series kicked off in 1985 with the release of the first installment of the series, Lake Wobegon Days. It was followed by the book Wobegon Boy and several more novels, all of which have been eagerly anticipated by fans. Many of them were so excited to read the books simply because they were faithful listeners to Keillor’s radio program and really enjoyed the setting of Lake Wobegon and all fictional things related to this imaginary idyllic place.
He has long been recognized as one of the top entertainers and commentators about life in the Midwest. With over a dozen books penned for adults and children to his name as well as countless articles published in magazines and newspapers, you can easily see why Garrison Keillor is so well-known in American culture. He wrote a column regularly that appeared online at Salon and through several newspapers via syndication that ended in 2010.
Keillor has not only penned works of fiction but also had his political essays published in 2004 when his book Homegrown Democrat came out. He was also the sole writer of the movie A Prairie Home Companion, which came out in 2006. Directed by Robert Altman, the star-studded movie had an ensemble cast that featured Meryl Streep. Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Lily Tomlin, Virginia Madsen, Lindsay Lohan, and Keillor himself.
The author and radio personality has been down the aisle three times. He opened an independent bookstore in 2006 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In 2012, Common Good Books moved to a new location across from the local college.
Lake Wobegon Days is the first book in the series by Keillor. Fans of the radio program will be overjoyed to have a new outlet for this fictional location and the people who live there. Life in Lake Wobegon is sometimes slow, but always rewarding. Full of stories, songs, and poems, the book is sometimes sad and sometimes warm as it follows fictional exploits of everyone’s favorite radio hometown.
Wobegon Boy is a follow-up novel to the debut. This story is more full-bodied, as the novel follows a man from the town of Lake Wobegon as he goes to work at a radio station in New York. While he is there, he manages to create a lovely bachelor life for himself. However, everything stands to change when he falls for the lovely historian Alida. Will she fall for him as quickly as he has fallen for her? Pick up this wonderful story to find out!
Books in order of publication by series:
Lake Wobegon Books
|Lake Wobegon Days||(1985)|
|News from Lake Wobegon||(1991)|
|More News from Lake Wobegon||(1991)|
|Lake Wobegon Summer 1956||(2001)|
|In Search of Lake Wobegon||(2001)|
|Lake Wobegon USA||(2004)|
|The Road Home||(2016)|
|The Sandy Bottom Orchestra||(1996)|
|Me by Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente, Governor of Minnesota||(1999)|
|A Christmas Blizzard||(2009)|
|We Are Still Married||(1989)|
|Book of Guys||(1993)|
|Good Poems for Hard Times||(2005)|
|Prairie Home Christmas||(2007)|
|Life Among the Lutherans||(2008)|
|The Keillor Reader||(2009)|
|77 Love Sonnets||(2009)|
|Good Poems, American Places||(2011)|
|Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny||(2012)|
|O, What a Luxury||(2013)|
|A Luxury of Limericks||(2019)|
|Cat, You Better Come Home||(1995)|
|The Old Man Who Loved Cheese||(1996)|
|Happy to Be Here||(1982)|
|A Prairie Home Commonplace Book||(1999)|
|Pretty Good Joke Book||(2000)|
|Even More Pretty Good Jokes||(2009)|
|Pretty Good Jokes Live!||(2015)|