The Writer's Almanac

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The Writer's Almanac is a daily podcast of poetry and historical interest pieces, usually of literary significance. Each day's offering is five minutes long and contains "on this day in history" information as well as an accessible poem.

Prairie Home Productions


    • Jan 16, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • daily NEW EPISODES
    • 5m AVG DURATION
    • 1,255 EPISODES

    Listeners of The Writer's Almanac that love the show mention: twa, garrison keillor, gk, prairie home companion, overjoyed, poets, poetry, poems, old friend, collins, welcome back, many thanks, bird, start the day, literary, missed, occasional, sir, continuing, thank god.



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    Latest episodes from The Writer's Almanac

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, January 16, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2022 5:00

    Today is the birthday of three very different modern writers: food writer Ruth Reichl (1948), poet Mary Karr (1955), and activist Susan Sontag (1933).

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, January 15, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 15, 2022 5:00

    Today is the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (1929). He said, "If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, January 14, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 14, 2022 5:00

    Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd celebrates her 70th birthday today. She said, "The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for."

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, January 13, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2022 5:00

    On this day in 1968 country musician, Johnny Cash recorded a live concert at Folsom Prison in California.

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, January 12, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2022 5:00

    Myself, I'm a very realistic person. [...]But when I write, I write weird." --novelist Haruki Murakami, born on this day in Kyoto, Japan,1949.

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, January 11, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2022 5:00

    "The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook" — psychologist and philosopher William James, born on this day 1842.

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, January 10, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2022 5:00

    It's the birthday of Stephen Ambrose, who said of why he chose to become a historian “[It] occurred to me that I could add to the sum of the world's knowledge."

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, January 9, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 9, 2022 5:00

    "The writer of originality, unless dead, is always shocking, scandalous; novelty disturbs and repels." –Simone de Beauvoir, born this day in Paris, 1980.

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, January 8, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 8, 2022 5:00

    My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." – Stephen Hawking, born on this day, 1942.

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, January 7, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 7, 2022 5:00

    Africain American filmmaker, author, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was born in Alabama on this day in 1891. Author of “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, January 6, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2022 5:00

    “I write pieces, and move them around. And the fun of it is watching the truthful parts slide together. What is false won't fit.” --Elizabeth Strout, novelist, born on this day in 1956.

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, January 5, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 5:00

    Today is the birthday of literary and social activist Ngugi wa Thiong'o, born in Kenya, 1938. He writes in his native Kikuyu language to celebrate his heritage and protest Kenya's use of English as the official language.

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, January 4, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2022 5:00

    Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin celebrates her 79th birthday today. About her work she has said, “As a historian, what I trust is my ability to take a mass of information and tell a story shaped around it.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, January 3, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 5:00

    "A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard." said Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick,” who went to sea on the whaler Acushnet on this day, 1841.

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, January 2, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 2, 2022 5:00

    American Cartoonist Lynda Barry turns 65 today. And,it's the birthday of author Isaac Asimov (1920) who has books in all 10 categories of the Dewey Decimal System.

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, January 1, 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 2022 5:00

    New Years Day is the birthday of J.D. Salinger,born in New York City (1919), author of “The Catcher in the Rye” which has sold more than 60 million copies.

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, December 31, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 5:00

    On New Years' Eve, 1879, Thomas Edison demonstrated the first incandescent light bulb for 3,000 spectators, who were awed and delighted with the invention.

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, December 30, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2021 5:00

    Today is the 75th birthday of Patti Smith. Sometimes known as “the godmother of punk,” Smith is also the author of poetry collections, art, and memoir.

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, December 29, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 5:00

    Today is the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, resulting in the death of over 150 native Lakota Sioux people, including Chief Sitting Bull.

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, December 28, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2021 5:00

    Comedian Sam Levenson was born on this day in New York, 1911. “It's so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and say the opposite.

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, December 27, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 5:00

    James Barrie's play “Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up” had its opening night on this day in 1904.

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, December 26, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 26, 2021 5:00

    Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, also the birth of humorist David Sedaris (1956) whose latest book “A Carnival of Snackery” came out in October.

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, December 25, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 25, 2021 5:00

    Christmas Day. Also the birthday of Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of William Wordsworth, whom we now know used some of his sister's writings in his poems.

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, December 24, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 5:00

    For Christmas Eve we discuss the story "Dancing Dan's Christmas" by Damon Runyon.

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, December 23, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2021 5:00

    It's the birthday of Minnesota poet Robert Bly, who died just a month ago, Nov. 21st, a month shy of his 95th birthday. We feature his poem “The Call Away.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, December 22, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 5:00

    It's the birthday Kenneth Rexroth (1905). He published more than 50 books of poetry and once said, "Man thrives where angels would die of ecstasy and where pigs would die of disgust."

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, December 21, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021 5:00

    Today in 1879, the world premiere of Henrik Ibsen's play “A Doll's House” took place at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, December 20, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 5:00

    “If it were denied me to write, I imagine I would die,” for through writing she makes sense of her own deepest experiences. --Elizabeth Benedict, born on this day in 1954.

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, December 19, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2021 5:00

    It was on this day in 1843 that Charles Dickens published "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas." Introducing the world to Scrooge, Marley's Ghost, and Tiny Tim.

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, December 18, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2021 5:00

    Methodist hymn writer Charles Wesley was born on this day, 1707, in Epworth England. His hymns include “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, December 17, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 5:00

    200 years ago Kentucky became the first state to abolish debtor's prison, where often people were imprisoned simply for being poor. Bankruptcy was set up to deal instead with unpayable debts.

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, December 16, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 5:00

    Jane Austen was born on this day, 1775, in England. Author of "Pride and Prejudice", "Emma" and "Persuasion."

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, December 15, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 5:00

    230 years ago the Bill of Rights was ratified by the United States of America. These powerful statements were spearheaded by James Madison, later the 4th president of the United States.

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, December 14, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 5:00

    It was on this day in 1911 that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team became the first people ever to reach the South Pole.

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, December 13, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 5:00

    "The Romans would never have found time to conquer the world if they had been obliged first to learn Latin." -- Heinrich Heine, born in Germany on this day in 1797.

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, December 12, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2021 5:00

    "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work." -- Gustave Flaubert, born on this day in France, 1821. Best known for “Madame Bovary”

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, December 11, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 11, 2021 5:00

    “The best training is to read and write, no matter what…Write what will stop your breath if you don't write.” -- Grace Paley (born 1922).

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, December 10, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 5:00

    “Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul/And sings the tune without the words/And never stops at all.” ― Emily Dickinson, born on this day in 1830.

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, December 9, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2021 5:00

    Today is the birthday of poet John Milton (1608), author of the epic poem “Paradise Lost.” We feature Milton's poem “On His Blindness.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, December 8, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 5:00

    The Roman lyric poet, and soldier, Horace was born on this day 65BCE He lived during the time of Caesar Augustus (Octavian), writing his Odes on many topics.

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, December 7, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2021 5:00

    Willa Cather was born on this day, 1913. On writing, she said, “If I made a chore of it, my enthusiasm would die…I make it an adventure every day.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, December 6, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 5:00

    It's children's writer Susanna Moodie's birthday today. Born 1903 in England, she wrote about frontier life in Canada, compared to the Little House books, but with the goal of discouraging English people from undertaking the adventure.

    The Writer's Almanac for Sunday, December 5, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2021 5:00

    "Do not whine... Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone." – Joan Didion, born on this day in 1934.

    The Writer's Almanac for Saturday, December 4, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 4, 2021 5:00

    It's the birthday of mystery writer Cornell Woolrich (1903) whose stories were often adapted for radio and film, including “The Bride Wore Black” and “Night Has a Thousand Eyes.”

    The Writer's Almanac for Friday, December 3, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 5:00

    This day in 1947 the play “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

    The Writer's Almanac for Thursday, December 2, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 5:00

    “People like to ask me if writing can be taught, and I say yes… but I can't teach you how to have something to say."—Ann Patchett, born on this day 1963.

    The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, December 1, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 5:00

    On this day in 1860 the first two chapters of Charles Dickens' novel “Great Expectations” were published.

    The Writer's Almanac for Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 5:00

    "A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it"-- Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens in Florida, Missouri on this day in 1835.

    The Writer's Almanac for Monday, November 29, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 5:00

    November 29th celebrates the birth of Madeleine L'Engle author of “A Wrinkle in Time,”and Louisa May Alcott author of “Little Women”, and C.S. Lewis, author of “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

    The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 28, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2021 5:00

    It's the birthday of poet and artist William Blake, (1757). "Without minute neatness of execution, the sublime cannot exist! Grandeur of ideas is founded on precision of ideas."

    The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 27, 2021

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 5:00

    Today is the birthday of Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius, (1701) who invented the Celsius temperature scale.

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