Albums APHC Clips Audio Events Prairie Home Archives Songs Writer's Almanac
Writer's Almanac

To subscribe to the Writer’s Almanac Anniversary Episode email, which includes the unedited text and audio from one daily anniversary episode selected from the archive, click here >>>

To browse archived episodes of The Writer’s Almanac from before 2017, click here >>>

• • • • •

To support The Writer’s Almanac Anniversary Episodes newsletter, please consider “buying” a donation here >>>

You can also buy a paid subscription to the Anniversary Episode newsletter here >>>

Checks may be made out to Prairie Home Productions, LLC and mailed to:

Prairie Home Productions
P.O. Box 2090
Minneapolis, MN 55402

(Note: donations to LLCs are not tax-deductible)

• • • • •

The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, February 27, 2024

It’s the birthday of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, born in Portland, Maine (1807). He was the most popular American poet in his lifetime, and one of the first American poets to be taken seriously abroad.He was something of a child prodigy, and entered Bowdoin College when he was just 14, where he was in the same class as Nathaniel Hawthorne. When Longfellow graduated, Bowdoin offered him a chair in modern languages, and he went on to teach German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, February 26, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, February 26, 2024

It’s the birthday of Victor Hugo, born in Besançon, France (1802). In the English-speaking world, he’s mainly remembered as the man who wrote Les Misérables (1865) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), but in France he’s considered one of the great French poets as well.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, February 25, 2024

On this day in 1950, “Your Show of Shows” debuted, one of the most successful variety shows television has ever seen. Starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, it featured ninety minutes of original comedy sketches performed live in front of a studio audience.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, February 24, 2024

It’s the birthday of Wilhelm Karl Grimm, born in Hanau, Germany (1786), one of the Grimm brothers who collected German folk tales, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Cinderella,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, February 23, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, February 23, 2024

It’s the birthday of diarist Samuel Pepys, born in London, England (1633). He was a prominent man of his day in England: a member of Parliament, Secretary of the Admiralty, president of the Royal Society, and friend of such notables as Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, February 22, 2024

It’s the birthday of poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay, born in Rockland, Maine (1892). She was as famous for her bohemian lifestyle in Greenwhich Village as for her work. Millay was the author of the famous lines: “My candle burns at both ends / It will not last the night / But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends / It gives a lovely light.”

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, February 21, 2024

It’s the birthday of newspaper columnist and best-selling author Erma Bombeck, born in Dayton, Ohio (1927). After graduating college she became a columnist for the Dayton Journal Herald. She soon left that position to stay home and raise her children. When her third child started school, Bombeck returned to her writing because she was, as she put it, “too old for a paper route, too young for Social Security, and too tired for an affair.”

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, February 20, 2024

It’s the birthday of boogie-woogie pioneer Jimmy Yancey (James Edward Yancey), born in Chicago (1898). He was a mainstay in the jazz and blues circles in Chicago, playing at after-hours joints and rent parties. Piano pieces such as “Yancey Stomp,” and “State Street Special,” were his signature songs.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, February 19, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, February 19, 2024

It’s the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Carson McCullers, born in Columbus, Georgia (1917). Her original intention was to study music, and she came to New York at the age of 17 to attend Juilliard. But she lost her wallet and her tuition fees, so she got a job and took writing classes at Columbia University. Her first and most critically acclaimed novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940), concerns four lonely misfits in a small town in Georgia.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, February 18, 2024

It’s the birthday of novelist and teacher Wallace Stegner, born in Lake Mills, Iowa (1909). His father was a schemer who was constantly moving the family from place to place, hoping to strike it rich in one of the Western boomtowns. He watched as his father tried and failed to plant a farm in North Dakota, tried and failed to run a lunchroom in the backwoods of Washington state, sold bootleg liquor in Great Falls, Montana, poured the family’s savings into an invention that was supposed to detect gold in the ground, and finally bought a piece of redwood forest in California, only to cut it all down and sell it for firewood.

Read More