Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

portrait of Garrison Keillor
Photo by Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg News

Born: 7 August 1942, Anoka, Minnesota

Keillor was raised in a strict fundamentalist sect called the Plymouth Brethren, in which dancing, drinking, and cards were forbidden, so his family became adept story tellers. He started his own newspaper at age eleven, and in junior high school submitted poetry to the school paper using the name "Garrison Edwards", which he thought was more impressive than "Gary". He graduated from Anoka High School in 1960 and went to the University of Minnesota where he was an editor on the Minnesota Daily and was on the air on the student radio station, KUOM. He graduated with a B.A. in English in 1966 and went on a month-long job-hunting trip to the East Coast before returning home. He started at Minnesota Public Radio in 1969 and was a free-lance journalist. While researching the Grand Ole Opry he developed the idea for a variety show which originally ran in the morning, it moved to Saturday nights with it's current name Prairie Home Companion, from 1974 to 1987. The show has succeeded on the strength of Keillor' stories of the mythical Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above-average," it has an audience of some three million listeners on over 500 radio stations. Work on other projects included a very similar show, he decided to bring it home to Minnesota and use the original name starting in 1993. An early goal was to write for The New Yorker, his first story ran in September of 1970. Keillor produces The Writer's Almanac, both as a Public Radio program and a daily e-mail list, which the Quotemaster faithfully reads.

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