Garrison Keillor to Deliver 2006 Hunter Lecture

Columbus State University students will get a chance to hear from a best-selling author, beloved radio host and budding film star when Garrison Keillor visits Columbus April 13.

Film star?

Yes, the longtime host of National Public Radios A Prairie Home Companion will appear on campus and at the RiverCenter as buzz builds for his June debut as himself in the Robert Altman-directed A Prairie Home Companion, co-starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.

Tickets to An Evening with Garrison Keillor at 7 p.m. April 13 in the RiverCenters 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theatre are free and will be available to CSU students, faculty, staff and retirees at the Fine Arts Hall Box Office on campus starting March 13 as part of CSUs annual Hunter Lecture, co-sponsored this year by the John B. Amos Lecture Fund. On April 1, free tickets will be available to the general public, as well as the CSU family, at the RiverCenter ticket office.

GarrisonKeillor, left, the author of 12 books, will also host a question-and-answer session on The Craft of Writing, exclusively for CSU students, at 3 p.m. April 13 in the 260-seat Davidson Center auditorium.

In addition to the 90-minute PHC, heard by more than 4 million listeners weekly on 558 public radio stations across the nation, plus other networks in Europe and the Far East, Keillor is host of the five-minute The Writers Almanac, which airs daily on public radio. His books including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Love Me and Homegrown Democrat are mostly memoir-like fiction, colored by his subtle sense of humor.

Keillor visited Columbus last May for a $125-a-ticket Springer Opera House fundraiser. His free appearances in April are possible due to a gift from Madge Hunter in memory of her husband, James W. Hunter, a CSU supporter. The Amos fund celebrates the Aflac co-founder.

The members of the (Hunter Lecture) committee wanted to give back to the community for having given so generously to the capital campaign, said committee chair Cathy Fussell, referring to the four-year, $100 million fund-raising effort that ended Oct. 31, 2005. We want the focus to be on what our students can get out of a speaker like this, but we do know there will be much interest beyond CSU.

Students and others can learn more about Keillor, 63, by tuning in A Prairie Home Companion, which airs locally at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and repeats at 2 p.m. on Sundays, on Georgia Public Radio stations. The shows Web site, at, also features archives where broadcasts from the last 10 years can be heard.

The show mixes topical humor, storytelling, commercial parodies, sketch comedy and a wide range of music. The Altman movie follows the plight of a fictional version of the show as its taken over by a large corporation. The film, making its North American debut at an Austin film festival March 10, is currently scheduled for a June release. The movie also features Tommy Lee Jones, Lily Tomlin, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, Virginia Madsen, Maya Rudolph and Lindsey Lohan.

Now in its sixth year, previous Hunter Lectures have been presented at CSU by paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey, Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias Sanchez, poet laureate Robert Pinsky. nature writer Robert Sapolsky and science historian James Burke.

For more information, visit the Hunter Lecture series Web site at