Garrison Keillor (Garrison Edward Keillor) Biography
(1942– ), (Garrison Edward Keillor), New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Happy to Be Here, Lake Wobegon Days
American novelist and short-story writer, born in Anoka, Minnesota, educated at the University of Minnesota. He worked for radio stations in Minneapolis, becoming host and principal writer for a famous weekly programme ‘A Prairie Home Companion’, a throwback to the Golden Age of Radio. It incorporated a variety of country and blues music, and Keillor's stories about the inhabitants of his fictional town, Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, ‘the little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve’. He contributed stories for the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines, which were collected in Happy to Be Here (1981, revised 1983). Keillor's major fictional success came with Lake Wobegon Days (1985), a series of narratives centred on a number of second-generation Scandinavian immigrant families and characters living in Lake Wobegon. Usually beginning each story with ‘It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon’, they combine pathos and comedy with his characteristic down-to-earth style and ironic wit. Subsequent stories, in Leaving Home (1987) and We Are Still Married (1989), return to many of the Lake Wobegon characters and act as vehicles for comments on contemporary American society and culture. His first novel, Radio Romance (1991), describes the rise and fall of a radio station in Minneapolis. Later works include stories collected in The Book of Guys (1993), the theme of which is American manhood, depicted here as gentle and neglected, and Cat, You Better Come Home (1995).