September 30, 2010
For immediate release
Contact: Jane Wald

AMHERST, Mass.— On Thursday, Dec. 9—one day before the 180th anniversary of the poet Emily Dickinson’s birth—Garrison Keillor, host of the acclaimed National Public Radio program A Prairie Home Companion, will perform a special one-man benefit for the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst. The event will take place at 7 p.m. at Johnson Chapel on the Amherst College campus and will feature Keillor’s legendary humor, commentary and song.


“Garrison Keillor is a wonderful advocate for the power of poetry in our lives, and he clearly cherishes Dickinson’s poetry,” said Jane Wald, executive director of the Emily Dickinson Museum. “We’re delighted and grateful that he’s chosen this milestone birthday anniversary to help the cause of Emily Dickinson with a benefit performance to support the museum’s education and preservation work. That Emily Dickinson had a razor wit isn’t well known, but hers is a good match for Garrison Keillor. We look forward to a memorable birthday celebration!”

Keillor has mentioned and poked good-natured fun at Dickinson—a lifelong Amherst resident—several times in various broadcasts of his show, according to Wald. But upon hearing last fall that the plaster ceiling in the parlor of the poet’s home (now the Dickinson Museum) had fallen into the room, possibly causing extensive damage, Keillor inquired about how he could help. He then decided that a benefit concert for the organization would be the best course.

“We’re thrilled that one of today’s most well-known American authors is doing such a selfless thing for one of this town’s most cherished and beloved institutions,” said Amherst College President Anthony Marx. “The people of this college and this community love their writers, so it is particularly fitting that Garrison Keillor is coming to Emily Dickinson’s hometown. We’re very glad to be a part of this event.”

Seats are available for $30 and $50 in advance ($40 and $60 at the door); a limited number of tickets are available for a special reception with Keillor after the show for $125. Tickets go on sale Friday, Oct. 1, on the museum’s website

St. Germain Investments is the Presenting Sponsor for Keillor’s performance. Northampton Cooperative Bank is a Major Sponsor and media sponsors are WFCR Public Radio and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

In addition to his work with A Prairie Home Companion, Keillor is writer and host for The Writer’s Almanac, also heard on public radio stations across the country. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Love Me and Homegrown Democrat. He was born in Anoka, Minn., in 1942 and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and daughter. He has two grandsons. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Episcopal Church.

The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. Owned by the Trustees of Amherst College, the museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors charged with raising its operating and capital funds. The Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet’s brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main St. in Amherst, Mass.  The official museum Web site is, and the phone number is (413) 542-8161. Summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Aug. 31. Regular hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., March through December.