About the Staff

Learn more about the people who help make The Writer’s Almanac possible.


Joy Biles, Producer

Joy Biles grew up in Florida and Hawaii and couldn’t wait to move to a place where flip-flops were not the standard footwear. She took a cross-country road trip in her 20s, and after visiting a friend who’d moved to Minneapolis, she decided to hang around for a few weeks—and ended up staying for the next 13 years and counting. She was nearly 30 when she decided it’s never too late to earn a college degree, so she enrolled at the University of Minnesota and majored in English. It turned out to be a good choice for someone who reads dictionaries for fun, and she hasn’t looked back since.

She does everything from writing and research, to answering mail and coordinating the schedule, to lining up interviews and searching through stacks of books for that perfect poem. Some of her favorite writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, Eudora Welty, Toni Morrison, and Joan Didion. Her favorite part about working on The Writer’s Almanac is discovering the many redemptive stories of writers who overcame tremendous odds to publish their work, and, of course, the time spent reading poems. She’d be hard-pressed to name a favorite poet since there are so many, but two poems she never tires of reading are James Wright’s “A Blessing” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish.”


Noah Smith, Engineer

Originally from South Dakota, Noah Smith attended Minnesota State University in Moorhead, studying the music industry — with an emphasis on audio production and engineering. After graduation, he interned with Hest & Kramer, a music studio that creates soundtracks for TV and radio commercials. There he helped design and build — of all things — robot actors. Since he signed on with A Prairie Home Companion, Noah has had an ever-evolving stack of tasks on his plate, from keeping up-to-date archives of APHC and The Writer’s Almanac to making dubs of the programs for guest performers. In his time off, you’re likely to find him in his home recording studio, where he mixes music for local bands.