It’s sure to say that Garrison Keillor is one of the most recognizable personalities on talk radio.
Keillor’s distinct, resonant voice has been a part of the tapestry of public radio since the late 1960s. Famed for his role as the creator of A Prairie Home Companion, he is a master at weaving the dual arts of storytelling and music.
Keillor appears here at The Smith Center on April 16 as a feature of our Audi Speaker Series.
The wellspring of much of Keillor’s humor is Lake Wobegon. The fictional Minnesota town is known for his famous description: “Where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.” It is home to fanciful establishments such as the Chatterbox Café and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique, plus a cavalcade of homespun characters.
The appeal of the Lake Wobegon universe is immense. The syndicated radio revue reaches millions weekly and is carried by more than 600 public radio stations across the United States, as well as SiriusXM, And Keillor’s books have been hits, including Lake Wobegon Days, which reached the top spot on The New York Times Best Seller list.
As a spinner of tall tales, Keillor is also known for creating “The Adventures of Guy Noir, Private Eye” and “The Lives of the Cowboys” segments on A Prairie Home Companion, both of which he voices as the titular Noir and Lefty, the erudite buckaroo.
Keillor has been nominated more than a dozen times for Grammy® Awards and won Best Spoken Word Album in 1988 for his recording of Lake Wobegon Days. He has also received a Peabody Award, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is in the National Radio Hall of Fame.
A Prairie Home Companion also made it to the silver screen, with famed director Robert Altman (in his last work) bringing an adaptation of the show alive for moviegoers. Keillor starred in the film.
Surely a rarity in contemporary culture, Keillor has also created a poetry industry. His daily broadcast, The Writer’s Almanac, has highlighted literary gems since 1993. Keillor himself has published two volumes of his own verse. He has even invested in the bricks-and-mortar side of the literary world, having opened an independent (and still running) book emporium – Common Good Books – in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Much of Keillor’s professional time is now dedicated to speaking tours, such as his upcoming visit to Reynolds Hall. In these engagements, he expands upon his fictional worlds with observations from his personal experiences, including becoming a father later in life. Sometimes a little music gets thrown into the mix … and always a lot of sly humor.
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