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 Friday, June 14, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, June 14, 2024

It’s the birthday of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, born Ernesto Guevara de la Serna in Rosario, Argentina (1928). As a young man, he took a year off from college to travel around South America by motorcycle with his friend Alberto Granado, and he recorded their adventures in his journal, which was later published by his daughter as The Motorcycle Diaries (1993). He was disturbed by all the poverty and oppression he saw among the Indian people of Latin America, and he came to believe that the only solution was violent revolution.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, June 13, 2024

It’s the birthday of poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, born in Dublin, Ireland (1865). He lived during great political and social changes in his home country, but he spent much of his life obsessed not with politics but with mysticism. His aunt gave him a popular book of the era called Esoteric Buddhism (1884), about Eastern mystical philosophy, and Yeats especially loved its idea that the world of matter was an illusion.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

It’s the birthday of Anne Frank, born in Frankfurt, Germany (1929). She received a diary as a birthday present on her 13th birthday in 1942, and she immediately began writing in it. A few weeks after her birthday, Anne’s older sister, Margot, got a notice to report to a Jewish work camp, so the Franks went into hiding in an annex in Amsterdam, along with four other people. They lived together in the annex for two years, and a family friend, Miep Gies, brought them food and supplies.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Today is the birthday of the novelist William Styron, born in Newport News, Virginia, in 1925. As a teenager, he enlisted in the Marines to fight in World War II, but by the time he’d finished training and set sail for Japan, the war had ended. He moved to Brooklyn, New York, and got a job as an office boy at the McGraw-Hill publishing house. He was supposed to write book jacket copy, but he was so disgusted with most of the books that he filled all his summaries with insults and foul language. After throwing several paper airplanes and water balloons out the window of his office, he got fired. So he decided to try to make it as a writer.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, June 10, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, June 10, 2024

It’s the birthday of novelist and short-story writer James Salter, born James Horowitz, in New York City (1925). He attended West Point and became a pilot in the Air Force. He flew one hundred combat missions during the Korean War, and served as a squadron leader in Europe before retiring in 1957 to become a writer.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, June 9, 2024

It’s the birthday of Cole Porter, born in Peru, Indiana (1891). He was a composer and lyricist, and he wrote a string of hit songs: “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Night and Day,” “You’re the Top,” “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love,” “I’ve got You Under My Skin,” and “Let’s Misbehave.” All of these songs were written within a 10-year period: between his first popular Broadway musical, Paris (1928) — his first musicals had been complete flops — and a terrible riding accident in 1937.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, June 8, 2024

Mark Twain took a famous ride on this day in 1867. He boarded the side-wheel steamer “The Quaker City” and set off on a five-month trip to Europe and the Mediterranean. This had never been done before — a transatlantic pleasure cruise on a steamship — and when Twain heard about the idea, he asked the San Francisco newspaper the Alta-California if they wanted to send him as their correspondent.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, June 7, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, June 7, 2024

It’s the birthday of the novelist Louise Erdrich, born in Little Falls, Minnesota (1954). She grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, the eldest of seven children. Her father came from a family of German immigrants, and her mother was French Ojibwe, and both her parents taught in the school run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, June 6, 2024

It’s the birthday of poet Maxine Kumin, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1925). She grew up in an affluent family — her father owned the largest pawnbroking business in the city. Even though she was Jewish, her parents sent her to a Catholic school because it was so close to her house. She said, “Jesus entered my life casually but insistently and some of that sanctified passion has stayed in my bones.”

Read More
The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, June 5, 2024

It’s the birthday of one of the great men of letters of the 20th century, Alfred Kazin, born in Brooklyn (1915). He grew up in the Brownsville section, the poor Jewish immigrant sector of Brooklyn. He said, “We were the children of the immigrants who had camped at the city’s back door … a place that measured all success by our skill in getting away from it.”

Read More