Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts

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. Produced and distributed by Symphony Space.

Episodes

August 11, 2022 59 min

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three diverse stories that look at what gets left behind when life changes, gradually or suddenly. Restless retirees try on the ultimate next step in Greg Ames’ funny “Funeral Platter,” performed by Michael McKean and Annette O’Toole. The family in Julia Alvarez’s “Liberty” are on their way to a new life in America, but it’s difficult leaving the old one behind. The reader is Laura Gómez. And a trainer of...

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Host Meg Wolitzer presents three pieces about marriages that outlive the romance. In Etgar Keret’s “A World without Selfie Sticks,” performed by Tate Donovan, a man meets the woman of his dreams; but she’s from an alternate universe. “On the Honeymoon,” by Javier Marias, a husband has a strange encounter with a woman in the street.  It’s read by Ivan Hernandez.  And in Duncan Birmingham’s “The Cult In My Garage,” performed by Micha...

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An FBI probe into potential terrorists at a prom is the perfect setup for this high-paced satire that covers youth, sex, politics, religion, education, and the government. Written by the award-winning author of Wrong End of the Telescope, and read by Raffi Barsoumian (DC's Legends of Tomorrow and The Vampire Diaries).  It was one of the pieces commissioned by Selected Shorts for its new anthology, Small Odysseys.

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July 28, 2022 58 min

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three pieces about losing things: objects, opportunities, a primary sense, a new friendship. In “Any Other” by Jac Jemc, performed by Helen Hong, a woman rejects an offer without knowing the consequences. Namwali Serpell’s “Noseless” is about a loss many experienced during the pandemic; it’s performed by Kyrstina Alabado, Deborah S. Craig, Zach Grenier, and Calvin Leon Smith. And Lauren Groff’s “Such Smal...

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July 21, 2022 59 min

Host Meg Wolitzer presents two stories about the course of true love, from two very different perspectives. Sigrid Nunez explores a roller-coaster romance in a small town in “This Is It,” performed by Christina Pickles, and Simon Rich offers up Stone-Age love in a small cave in “I Love Girl.” It’s performed by Michael Ian Black, who also chats with Wolitzer about what he’s been reading and the tricky business of being funny. 

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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. 

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This week we reprise a great show from our archives:  guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories from New York Magazine’s online portal “The Cut,” which combines art, journalism, and the kind of fresh contemporary fiction that speaks to us.  On this program, a woman tries on different identities, as well as clothes, in a dress shop fitting room, in “Fully Zipped” by Shelly Oria, performed by Katja Blichfeld.   A new mother can’t see...

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July 7, 2022 62 min

Host Meg Wolitzer presents four stories about journeys, both physical and emotional.  Strangers size one another up on a busy city bus in Kurt Vonnegut’s “City,” performed by Bhavesh Patel and Sarah Steele. An excerpt from James Baldwin’s Another Country takes us on a frantic subway ride toward an ultimate moment. It is performed by Nathan Hinton. Hopeful immigrants try to reach America in a dubious boat in “The Long Voyage” by Leo...

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June 30, 2022 62 min

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories that ask the big, basic questions: Who? What? Where?  The characters resonate, the situations are intriguing, and each offers a fully realized world.  In “What Animal Are You?,” by Etgar Keret, performed by Willem Dafoe, a celebrity writer and his son play themselves for the media. In Rumaan Alam’s “Nothing Can Come Between Us,” performed by Nathan Hinton, a man goes into sensory overdrive. ...

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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."

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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.

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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.

 

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February 17, 2022 58 min

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.  

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November 22, 2021 35 min

From the author of novels including The Ice Storm and Purple America, a story about love, longing, and most importantly, putting your lips on somebody. Performed by Jin Ha (Devs).

 

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Writer and character actor Stephen Tobolowsky reads his own story about a Thanksgiving dinner that takes a most unexpected turn. Later he talks to host Aparna Nancherla about his work in TV, movies, and his podcast, The Tobolowsky Files.

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