Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts

By Symphony Space

Our greatest actors transport us through the magic of fiction, one short story at a time. Sometimes funny. Always moving. Selected Shorts connects you to the world with a rich diversity of voices from literature, film, theater, and comedy. New episodes every Thursday, from Symphony Space.

Episodes

Approaching Peace

On this show, Meg Wolitzer hands things off to guest host Hope Davis, who presents three stories about finding some kind of peace and stability in a variety of challenging circumstances. In Rabih Alameddine’s “Break” a trans woman reconnects with a sibling. The reader is Pooya Mohseni. Dave Eggers imagines a world changed by determined parents in “Your Mother And I,” performed by the late David Rakoff. And love triumphs over illness in Amy Bloom’s “Silver Water,” performed by Linda Lavin.
23/03/23·58m 0s

Slippery Roads and Fancy Shorts

Host Meg Wolitzer presents two stories in which some things are saved and some are left behind. Both stories also have a connection to the German language. In Haruki Murakami’s “Lederhosen,” performed by Aasif Mandvi, the traditional German shorts become a singular obsession for one half of a married couple. In Elizabeth McCracken’s “Robinson Crusoe at the Waterpark,” a couple and their son find themselves in over their heads. Mike Doyle is the reader.
16/03/23·59m 11s

The World According to Vonnegut

Host Meg Wolitzer presents stories by Kurt Vonnegut in which the Slaughterhouse Five author somehow managed to make a bleak dystopia funny and a high school band teacher a hero. The stories explore the darkly absurd side he’s known for—“Harrison Bergeron” performed by Becky Ann Baker––and a softer, touching side in “The Kid Nobody Could Handle” performed by Dylan Baker. The show features commentary from The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper and backstage interviews with the Bakers, a husband-and-wife duo. 
09/03/23·1h 1m

Too Hot For Radio: Roxane Gay "Men On Bikes"

Roxane Gay's story was published in an issue of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern in which all the authors "covered" a story, in the way a musician might cover a famous song. Gay took a famous Margaret Atwood story, titled "Rape Fantasies," as her inspiration. Both "Rape Fantasies" and "Men on Bikes" are about imagination, revenge and joking about subjects that make people uneasy. It's read by actress Jane Kaczmarek.Comedian Alison Leiby knows how to make us laugh about a subject people aren't prepared to laugh about. Her solo show "Oh God, a Show About Abortion," had a sold-out run in New York and has been touring the U.S. She and host Aparna Nancherla discuss how she approached finding the funny in a hot button topic.
06/03/23·27m 1s

The Road Not Taken

On this Selected Shorts program, host Meg Wolitzer presents stories about journeys—physical and emotional—that end in unexpected places.  In “A Woman Driving Alone,” by Marie-Helene Bertino, the main character travels s long way to see a friend, but seems also to be escaping a challenging moment in her life.  The piece was commissioned for Selected Shorts’ anthology Small Odysseys, and is read by Amber Tamblyn.  In Tom Perrotta’s “Nine Inches”, a teacher drives only across town, to chaperone a middle school dance, but almost gets into trouble himself.  The story is performed by Santino Fontana.
02/03/23·58m 30s

Work of Art

Host Meg Wolitzer presents stories of inspirations small and large. In these tales, writers investigate moments in which art inspires life, or life inspires art, especially in a visual medium. In Elizabeth Crane’s “Blue Girl,” read by Valorie Curry, a young woman's secret life is given an unusual public forum. In Jai Chakrabarti’s “Lessons with Father,” commissioned for our Small Odysseys anthology, a middle-aged child tries to connect with her late father through brushstrokes. The reader is Purva  Bedi.  And in William Boyd’s “Varengeville” read by Dan Stevens, a young man strays from his famous family as he discovers himself on canvas.
23/02/23·58m 31s

Almost Like Love

On this week’s SELECTED SHORTS, Meg Wolitzer presents two stories about love, or the next best thing. In Pam Houston’s “How to Talk to a Hunter” a smart woman can’t get enough of what her man can’t offer. The reader is Mia Dillon. And a widow and a lonely man make an odd couple in Lisa Ko’s “Pat + Sam,” performed by Jennifer Ikeda.
16/02/23·59m 10s

School Misrule

On this week’s SELECTED SHORTS, we're going to hear stories about students and schools that abandon the usual rules to follow their own, unusual, codes of behavior.   In "Singin' in the Acid Rain," by Patricia Marx, performed by Katrina Lenk, it’s recess at a post-apocalyptic school.  Marx talks with Meg Wolitzer about the story and her unique brand of humor after the read, and check your feed for our bonus segment featuring the full interview.  The class in “The School,” by Donald Barthelme, performed by Laura Esterman, is facing a difficult test; and young love is framed by larger issues in "Melvin in the Sixth Grade," by Dana Johnson, performed by Nikki M. James.   We hear from James about this nuanced rite-of-passage story.On this week’s SELECTED SHORTS, we're going to hear stories about students and schools that abandon the usual rules to follow their own, unusual, codes of behavior.   In "Singin' in the Acid Rain," by Patricia Marx, performed by Katrina Lenk, it’s recess at a post-apocalyptic school.  Marx talks with Meg Wolitzer about the story and her unique brand of humor after the read, and check your feed for our bonus segment featuring the full interview.  The class in “The School,” by Donald Barthelme, performed by Laura Esterman, is facing a difficult test; and young love is framed by larger issues in "Melvin in the Sixth Grade," by Dana Johnson, performed by Nikki M. James.   We hear from James about this nuanced rite-of-passage story.
09/02/23·1h 4m

Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Patricia Marx

In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to friend and New Yorker humorist Patricia Marx about her story “Singin’ in the Acid Rain,” and writing funny. 
09/02/23·12m 18s

Domestic Rearrangements

A routine that never changes can get old. So this week on Selected Shorts, host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories that shake up domestic life, teaching the characters something new about themselves and their circumstances.   In “Scaffolding Man,” by Jenny Allen, performed by Patricia Kalember, a woman in a drab marriage is intrigued by a “hot” stranger.  In "Myrna's Dad," by Cyn Vargas, a father’s changing occupations hide a family secret.  The reader is Krystina Alabado.   And in “Overtime,” by Hilma Wolitzer (Meg’s mom), read by Becky Ann Baker, a happy couple gets a jolt when the man’s ex moves into their apartment.  After the story, Meg interviews Hilma about what gave her the idea and her writing in general.
02/02/23·1h 0m

Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks with George Saunders

In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to friend and Booker Prize-winning author George Saunders about crafting short stories, where ideas come from, and how his work has evolved over the years. 
12/01/23·20m 15s

Too Hot For Radio: Kim Fu "Pre-Simulation Consultation XF007867"

Our new Too Hot episode features a story about memory, fantasy, and a realm somewhere between the two—a place to which we might escape, for a price (calling all Black Mirror and Westworld fans).  It's dark, thoughtful, and surprisingly funny. It was written by author Kim Fu, and is part of her 2022 debut story collection, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, which among other honors was picked as a TIME Top 10 Fiction Book of 2022. Performed by actors  Kirsten Vangsness, beloved for her long-running role on Criminal Minds, and Justin Kirk, known for series including Weeds, You’re the Worst, and Modern Family. The episode is hosted by Aparna Nancherla.
09/01/23·32m 48s

Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Elizabeth Strout

In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to friend and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout about writing, short stories, and the use of recurring characters in her work.
08/09/22·10m 31s

What's Your Story?

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about the act of writing and how it can remake us--a prankish skit; a playful and tender investigation of creating with words; and a fraught social encounter between two characters who don’t ‘get’ each other’s stories.  B.J. Novak takes the old saying “Great Writers Steal” literally in a short piece read by Novak and Aasif Mandvi.  In Etgar Keret’s “Creative Writing” a wife writes her way out of grief.  It’s read by Alex Karpovsky.  A dinner party becomes a scene of personal and political tension in Lorrie Moore’s “Foes,” performed by Joan Allen and Kyle MacLachlan.  And Moore joins Wolitzer to talk about the story and creating fiction.Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage
18/08/22·1h 4m

Host Meg Wolitzer Talks to Comedian Michael Ian Black

In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to comedian and writer Michael Ian Black about what he’s been reading and the tricky business of being funny. Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage
21/07/22·19m 22s

Bonus: Meg Wolitzer and Mona Eltahawy Talk Being a Dangerous Woman

In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to journalist, activist and feminist writer Mona Eltahawy about her life, literature and what it means to be a "dangerous woman."Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage
16/06/22·21m 51s

Too Hot for Radio: Helena Araújo "Asthmatic"

A story by the Columbian-born author, set in the turbulent 70’s as a group of would-be radicals devises a plan that quickly goes awry (the narrator might be the most pathetic revolutionary ever). The story is read by Peter Jay Fernandez, translated by Beatriz Teleki. Too Hot is hosted by Aparna Nancherla.Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage
02/05/22·39m 39s

Bonus: Meg Wolitzer and Alison Stewart Talk Fiction

A bonus interview between our host and best-selling author, Meg Wolitzer, and the host of WNYC’s All of It, Alison Stewart. Wolitzer reveals some of the secrets to great writing and the two women share their own reading habits and thoughts about the importance of fiction. Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage
14/04/22·9m 12s

Coming of Age

Guest host Tayari Jones presents stories about rites of passage between childhood and adulthood. In Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector’s lyrical “The First Kiss,” a young boy has his first brush with the sensual. Pepe Nufrio is the reader. A fiery country girl shows a cool city boy the ropes—and a gator—in “Hellion,” written by Julia Elliott, and read by Donna Lynne Champlin. Join and give!: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/symphonyspacenyc?code=Splashpage
17/02/22·58m 28s
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