Minnesota Author Biographies.

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor

From Pontoon (2007) by Garrison Keillor

Evelyn was an insomniac so when they say she died in her sleep, you have to question that. Probably she was sitting propped up in bed reading and heard the brush of wings and smelled the cold clean air and the angel appeared like a deer in the bedroom and Evelyn said, "Not yet. I have to finish this book." And the angel shook his golden locks, which made a skittery sound like dry seed pods, and he laughed a long silent laugh and took her pale hand in his. He'd heard that line, "Not yet," before. He was always interrupting people who were engrossed in their work or getting ready for a night at the opera or about to set off on a trip. Evelyn's brother died after his wife sprayed the house with a rose-scented room freshner that made Frank sneeze so hard he had a coronary, but he made it to the phone and called the office and told them he'd be late, and then lay down and died. The angel took Evelyn's hand gently in his cool hand and off she went with him, leaving behind the book, her bed and the blue knit coverlet, her stucco bungalow in Lake Wobegon redolent of coffee and fresh-picked strawberries, her bedside radio, her subscription to the New Yorker paid through the end of the year.

Biographical Notes

Birth: August 7, 1942, Anoka, Minnesota

Author and radio personality Gary Edward Keillor adopted the name "Garrison" at age thirteen to separate his personal life from his professional writing. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota in 1966. Keillor worked as an announcer at the campus radio station KUOM. He also edited and wrote for the Ivory Tower, the student publication. After receiving his B.A., he pursued a career in journalism without immediate success and he returned to the University for graduate study while working at the radio station. Keillor began working for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" in St. Paul. The show ended in 1987, resumed in 1989 in New York as "The American Radio Company," returned to Minnesota, and in 1993 resumed the name "A Prairie Home Companion". He has regularly contributed short stories to New Yorker magazine since 1974. Keillor has contributed to or starred in several movies: A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor: The Last Show (1987); The Dakota Conflict (1992); Rabbit Ears-Johnny Appleseed (1992); and A Prairie Home Companion (2006).

Garrison Keillor and “A Prairie Home Companion” have won several awards. “A Prairie Home Companion” won a Peabody Award in 1980. Keillor won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1985 for service to public radio; a Grammy award for best non-musical recording in 1987 for Lake Wobegon Days; a Gold Medal for Spoken Language in 1990 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; two ACE Awards for cable television; induction into the Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in 1994; and a National Humanities Medal in 1999 from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Selected Works
The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

The Book of Guys: Stories
Cat, You Better Come Home
Happy to Be Here
Lake Wobegon Days
Leaving Home
Me: By Jimmy (Big Boy) Valente
The Sandy Bottom Orchestra
We Are Still Married: Stories and Letters
WLT, a Radio Romance
Wobegon Boy

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Links

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society library
Minnesota Historical Society Collections Online

Web Links

APHC Garrison Keillor - Minnesota Public Radio program guide description of Keillor and his show
Garrison Keillor -- Out of Print Books - Out of print Keillor books

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