"Lake Wobegon Days" was published in 1985 and written by Garrison Keillor. He based it on stories from his radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion." Lake Wobegon is a fictitious town set in Minnesota with eccentric characters. The first half of the book is a history of the town. From the accidental discovery while … [Read more...] about Lake Wobegon Days
Born Gary Edward Keillor in Anoka, Minnesota in 1942 to Grace and John Keillor, a carpenter and postal worker, Garrison Keillor had a quiet upbringing in a small town. He adopted the pen name, Garrison at age thirteen. His father's parents came from Canada and his mother's parents immigrated from Scotland. As a child he was raised to be a Plymouth Brethren, part of the Evangelical Christian movement, but as an adult he became a Lutheran.
When Garrison was in college at the University of Minnesota in the 1960's, he began broadcasting on a student radio station that has since become known as Radio K. He was the host of A Prairie Home Entertainment. Meanwhile he submitted fiction to The New Yorker. They published his humorous story "Local Family Keeps Son Happy" in 1970 and his career in writing was off.
In 1971 he resigned from the broadcasting network because he felt they were trying to interfere with his music choices. When he returned later that year, his show was called The Prairie Home Companion. He hosted live musicians and comic skits. Today the show also features spoof commercial breaks and humorous greetings from members of the theater audience to their families. He also delivers news from Lake Wobegon, a fictional town based on his hometown in Minnesota. At the end of each broadcast, Garrison does not mention his own name in the credits, although he sometimes says something was written by Sarah Bellum which is a reference to his brain.
The Prairie Home Companion troupe has traveled the world for performances, including Scotland, Australia and Ireland. Garrison hosted his last performance in 2016 with a show before eighteen thousand fans at the Hollywood Bowl in California. President Obama called to congratulate him. The show has since been hosted by Chris Thile.
Garrison's distinctive accent has made him sought after for voice overs. He has been the voice of Disney character, Odin in the animated movie, Hercules, the the voice of Walt Whitman and other figures of historical significance in the documentaries by Ken Burns, The Civil War and Baseball.
Although he has not been diagnosed, Garrison believes he is on the highly functioning end of the autism spectrum because he has trouble making eye contact with anyone. In 2014 he was the keynote speaker at the 19th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference.
In 1965 Garrison married Mary Guntzel. They had one son, Jason in 1969, and then divorced in 1976. Then in 1985 he married Ulla Skaerved. She was a exchange student from Denmark when they were both in high school together. The two met again at a high school reunion. That marriage lasted until 1990, when it ended in divorce. Five years later in 1995, Garrison married Jenny Lind Nilsson. She is fifteen years his junior but they are both from the same hometown in Minnesota. She is a violinist. They have a daughter, Maia Grace Keillor who was born in 1997.
Garrison has been compared to Mark Twain for his witticism and wisdom. He rarely repeats himself even after thirty years of shows. His style involves storytelling about the fictional town of Lake Wobegon and other subjects. He is an observational comedian. He finds the humor in every day activities.