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Selected Shorts

PRI

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.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

PRI

Panoply

Description:

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.

Language:

English

Contact:

Selected Shorts c/o Symphony Space 2537 Broadway New York, NY 10025-6990 212-864-5400


Episodes
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Lost and Found

5/23/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works about losing something, but finding something revealing to take its place. In “Light,” by Lesley Nkeka Arimah, parents differ about how to raise a strong-willed daughter. The reader is Crystal Dickinson. And in Taryn Bowe’s “Camp Emeline,” performed by Edie Falco, a family struggles after a loss, but grief leads to self-discovery for the determined narrator. This lovely work also introduces Selected Shorts' first-ever on-air book club. Wolitzer joins a lively mother/daughter group to talk about Bowe’s work and how they related to it.

Duration:00:59:20

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Great Escapes

5/16/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works that contemplate a way out—of our lives, and even of this world. In Joe Meno’s “Books You Read,” performed by Joan Allen, a young boy helps his jaded teacher to love reading again. J. Robert Lennon takes us into deep space and a conversation between a computer and a survivor in “Escape Pod W41,” performed by Stephen Lang. A composition created by Lakecia Benjamin in response to the story, and performed by Junie Mojica, is also featured. And marriage, and a friendship, are tested in Jac Jemc’s “Infidelity,” performed by Kathleen Chalfont. All three stories were commissioned for SELECTED SHORTS’ anthology Small Odysseys.

Duration:00:59:00

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Roz Chast: While you were Sleeping

5/9/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works from an evening with author and New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, inspired by Chast’s new book I Must be Dreaming. “The Wife on Ambien,” by Ed Park, is a sort of late-night fever dream. It’s read by John Fugelsang. In Tessa Hadley’s “Bad Dreams,” images that begin in books envelop a family in real life. The reader is Rita Wolf. Tom Barbash’s “Stay Up With Me” charts the rocky path of an old love affair. It’s read by Jason Ralph. And throughout the episode, Chast describes her cartoons based on her own weird and hilarious dreams.

Duration:01:00:47

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Too Hot for Radio: Tim Jones-Yelvington "This Is a Dance Movie"

5/6/2024
This story was read at a Selected Shorts show in L.A., hosted by the Getty Center, and co-produced with the Belletrist Book Club, the online reading community created by longtime friends and readers Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss. Jones-Yelvington is an artist and drag performer who is also a prolific writer. They have written chapbooks, a memoir, a young adult novel and two collections of short fiction, Don't Make Me Do Something We'll Both Regret and This Is a Dance Movie! And the title story of their collection is all about movie cliches, how we might play with them, and the kinds of connection we hope we can achieve in telling our own stories. Writer and actor Ryan O'Connell performs the story. His book I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves was adapted into the Netflix series Special—in which he starred. His novel Just By Looking at Him came out in 2022, and he has appeared in recent series including the reboot of Queer as Folk. Our episode was hosted by comedian Aparna Nancherla.

Duration:00:30:56

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Wear and Tear

5/2/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works that offer unusual perspectives on clothes and fashion—selling, making, and coveting. In Anne Enright’s “(She Owns) Everything,” read by Mary-Louise Parker, a saleswoman becomes a compulsive consumer. In “Clothes on the Ground: A Conversation with Leap,” we hear from a Cambodian garment worker, interviewed by Julia Wallace for the compendium Women in Clothes. Leap is voiced by Jennifer Lim. And shopping is an antidote to aging in Joanne Harris’s “Faith and Hope Go Shopping,” read by Lois Smith.

Duration:00:57:53

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Nothing To Do With Love

4/25/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents two unconventional love stories, one classic, one contemporary, that avoid the usual tropes of “meet cute,” “opposites attract,” or “happily ever after” but are still engaging. In “Love in the Slump,” by Evelyn Waugh, clueless upper-crust newlyweds are sent on a comic odyssey. The reader is Jane Kaczmarek. And Esther Yi’s “Moon” explores something we often mistake for love—obsession, as a young woman is drawn farther and farther into K-Pop fandom.The story was selected by guest editor Min Jin Lee for Best American Short Stories 2023. It’s read by Hettienne Park. And we hear Lee’s and Park’s thoughts about the story.

Duration:00:58:28

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Best American Short Stories 2021 with Jesmyn Ward

4/18/2024
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories from the Best American Short Stories 2021 anthology selected by guest editor Jesmyn Ward. Both involve adolescents facing displacement or rejection, but the stories are set in very different environments: One takes place in a surreal, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and one inside a junior high school in Tennessee. First, Leo Solomon reads “Playing Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain,” by Jamil Jan Kochai. Then we hear “Biology,” a beautiful story by Kevin Wilson, performed by Mike Doyle. And Ward comments briefly on her approach to creating this year’s diverse anthology.

Duration:00:57:57

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Modest Expectations

4/11/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents four stories in which characters shape their expectations and dreams to a manageable size in collaboration with Belletrist Book Club. So if you’re “Medusa,” as in our first story, by Tania James, you try to figure out how to live in the world instead of turning it to stone. The reader is Constance Zimmer. Parents in our second story, “We Only Wanted Their Happiness,” by Alexander Weinstein, make a tactical choice about technology. It’s performed by Randall Park. The narrator of Honor Levy’s “Good Boys,” read by Annie Hamilton, understands that infatuation is a phase. And a man and a woman sidestep romance in “Arrangements” by Charlie Watts, performed by Laura Harrier and Will Harrison. The show was recorded at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and features commentary by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss of Belletrist Book Club. Since 2017, Belletrist Book Club has chosen more than 75 titles for the book club and dozens more for myriad content features across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and the newsletter The Belletrist Brief. In 2019, Emma Roberts and Karah Priess spun out Belletrist Book Club into a production company called Belletrist Productions. https://www.belletrist.com/

Duration:00:59:36

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Out of Sight

4/4/2024
HostMeg Wolitzer shares three stories about people who put things out of sight—and try to put them out of mind. In Lisa Ko’s “Nightlife,” read by Vanessa Kai, a pair of friends quietly sidestep feelings that might complicate their relationship. A teacher tries to help a parent see who her child really is in “The Hole” by Patrick Cottrell, performed by Becca Blackwell. And Elizabeth Strout brings us a beautiful and devastating story of a woman grappling with whether to put her mother into institutional care in “Home,” performed by Mia Dillon. Strout talks with Wolitzer after the reading. All three works were commissioned for the Selected Shorts’ anthology, Small Odysseys.

Duration:01:01:56

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Bonus: A Conversation with Elizabeth Strout

4/4/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer talks with author Elizabeth Strout about her story “Home” and the fictional family Strout has created.

Duration:00:10:31

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Save the Date with Belletrist Book Club

3/28/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about social occasions for introverts and extroverts alike, curated with the Belletrist Book Club, founded by actor Emma Roberts and producer Karah Preiss. The show was recorded at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Humorist Samantha Irby asks “Please Invite Me to Your Party,” but does she mean it? The reader is Richa Moorjani. Victoria Lancelotta’s “The Anniversary Trip,” performed by Judy Greer, is, and is not, about the married couple making the trip. And Jen Spyra takes it to extremes to get to the altar in perfect shape in “The Bridal Body,” performed by Erinn Hayes. This is Selected Shorts' first collaboration with Belletrist. Since 2017, Belletrist has chosen over 75 books for the book club and dozens more for myriad content features across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and a newsletter: The Belletrist Brief. In 2019, Emma and Karah spun out Belletrist Book Club into a production company called Belletrist Productions. https://www.belletrist.com

Duration:00:59:09

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Embracing Change

3/21/2024
On this episode of Selected Shorts, host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about change. A playful fantasy, a domestic dilemma, and a private struggle help us to adjust to the idea of transformation, losses, and gains. In “Sea Monster,” by Seth Fried, performed by Natasha Rothwell, a husband and wife reveal their secret identities to each other. In “Death by Printer,” by Mira Jacob, read by Rita Wolf, a widow learns to cope with loss—and technology. And a mature woman embraces the self she is becoming in Maile Meloy’s “Period Piece,” performed by Kelli O’Hara. The last two stories were commissioned for Selected Shorts’ anthology Small Odysseys.

Duration:00:57:50

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What’s Your Story?

3/14/2024
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 on the old saying “Great Writers Steal” 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.

Duration:01:03:05

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Elements of Nature

3/7/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presentsfour works in which nature and the out-of-doors drive both plots and character. Humorist Jenny Allen does battle with her stubborn plants in “Garden Growing Pains,” read by Kirsten Vangsness. The majestic Canadian border separates an Indigenous family in Thomas King’s “Borders,” read by Kimberly Guerrero. A housewife masters one of the elements in “Flying,” by Alyce Miller.The reader is Kirsten Vangness again.And a sudden storm creates a sense of abandon in the Kate Chopin classic “The Storm,” read by Jane Curtin.“Garden Growing Pains,” “Borders,” and “Flying,” were presented in cooperation with CacheArts and Utah Public Radio, KUSU-FM.

Duration:00:57:30

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Too Hot for Radio: Erin Somers "Variations on the Same"

3/4/2024
This story is by the writer Erin Somers. She has a novel, Stay Up with Hugo Best, and has been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere. Performing it, we've got two actors who found the funny with both the words and each other. The first, Paget Brewster, is best known for her role on Criminal Minds. Additionally, she has appeared on Friends, Community and Comedy Central’s Another Period. Playing off her is Andy Richter, known for his years on Conan and Late Night with Conan O'Brien; but has also appeared in cult classics like Cabin Boy and done many voiceovers for animated movies like Madagascar. The episode is hosted by Aparna Nancherla. The story was recorded at SketchFest in San Francisco.

Duration:00:29:00

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Extended Families

2/29/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works with unusual family dynamics. In Zadie Smith’s “Grand Union,” the mother-daughter bond transcends death and brings with it a whole family history. The reader is Kaneza Schaal. And Richard Bausch’s “What Feels Like the World,” read by James Naughton, explores the bond between a grandparent and a grandchild.

Duration:00:57:12

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Selected Shorts Goes to the Movies with the Tribeca Film Festival

2/22/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents stories so compelling that they were adapted for the screen. Selected Shorts and the prestigious Tribeca Festival collaborated and came up with three works that crossed the boundaries between fiction and film. An eerie game has unexpected consequences in Richard Matheson’s “Button, Button,” performed by Marin Ireland. The story inspired the horror film “The Box” starring Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella. Michael Stuhlbarg gives a rousing performance of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky;” and Andrea Martin reads the story that inspired the Hollywood classic All About Eve—Mary Orr’s “The Wisdom of Eve.”

Duration:00:58:04

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Homewreckers

2/15/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents two humorous stories about marriages not made in heaven. In James Thurber’s classic “The Breaking Up of the Winships,” a long-married couple fall out over Donald Duck. The reader is Kristine Nielsen. And in Louise Erdrich’s “The Big Cat,” read by Keir Dullea, two powerful wives, a bemused husband, and a symphony of bone-jarring snores. The program also features an interview with Erdrich.

Duration:00:58:29

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Meg Wolitzer interviews Louise Erdrich

2/15/2024
In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to author Louise Erdrich about her story; her writing life; and what do with left over index cards.

Duration:00:14:52

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Reality Checks

2/8/2024
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories in which reality contrasts with the dreams, perceptions, and actions of the characters. In “The Leap,” by Louise Erdrich, a mother’s unusual skill set changes the outcome of events. The reader is Elizabeth Reaser. In “Death and the Lady,” by Ben Loory, even the Grim Reaper harbors illusions. And his parents’ damaged marriage haunts an adult child in Delmore Schwartz’s “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.” Both the Loory and the Schwartz are read by multi-talented actor Denis O’Hare, and Wolitzer talks to him about his craft.

Duration:00:58:12