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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, from 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.


New York, NY





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.




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


In Dad We Trust--Maybe

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about fathers and fatherhood. In “Beauty and the Beast” by Simon Rich, a self-absorbed producer gets a little Disney sparkle from his daughter. The reader is Arian Moayed. “Bedtime Story” by Victor LaValle, read by Dion Graham, features a son soothing an anxious father; and a father-daughter hiking trip involves both bonding and danger in Percival Everett’s “Exposure,” read by Denis O’Hare. The show includes comments by Dion Graham and Percival...


Best Laid Plans

Meg Wolitzer presents three stories in which plans go awry, or alter completely. In Ben Loory’s “Dandelions,” read by Wyatt Cenac, a suburb is invaded, and experiences a change of heart. Edwidge Danticat imagines an ultimate act and its consequences in “Cane and Roses,” read by Anika Noni Rose. And a romance with comic underpinnings changes course in Ray Bradbury’s “The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair,” read by Tate Donovan.


Distance Learning

Meg Wolitzer hands off to guest host Roxane Gay in this rebroadcast of a show about considering people and feelings at a distance. Italian fabulist Italo Calvino observes young love on the slopes in “The Adventure of a Skier,” performed by James Naughton. In Edwidge Danticat’s “New York Day Women” a daughter watches her mother walking through Manhattan. The reader is Laurine Towler. And the James Baldwin grapples with what it means to be an American in "Notes for a Hypothetical Novel,"...


Out of Their Element

Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works in which characters are out of their element. Literally, in the case of Robert Coover’s witty reworking of the fable “The Frog Prince,” who finds human life exhausting. Parker Posey reads the story. In Cristina Henriquez’s “Chasing Birds” a married couple share an exotic holiday locale, but not much else. It’s voiced by Maryann Plunkett, who also comments on the story at the end of her read. The story is introduced by writer and bird aficionado Amy Tan.


The Me I Used to Be

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works about change. Yalcin Tosun’s “Muzaffer and Bananas” explores the awkward rites of passage of two teenaged boys. It’s performed by Arian Moayed. In Anya DeNiro’s “Take Pills and Wait for Hips,” performed by Pooya Mohseni, a trans woman reflects on her life before and after the change. And a former couple rehearse the disintegration of their relationship—on a street corner—in A.M. Homes’ “Goodbye to the Road Not Taken’ performed by Jane Kaczmarek and Tony...


Beyond Leprechauns

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works in which characters have unusual friends who change their lives—whether they like it or not. In “Unicorn Me” by Elizabeth Crane, a magical box delivers a unicorn who offers ambiguous advice. Miriam Shor performs the story followed by a musical piece "Breathe," inspired by the story which was composed by Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler. Singer Maddie Corman, bassist Matt Scharfglass, and Zina Goldrich perform. A sentient cockroach intrigues and alarms a...


Complicated Women

Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works that explore the many-layered lives of women. Edwidge Danticat’s essay “Women Like Us” honors the long line of strong women in her family, but also recognizes her need to distance herself in order to become a writer. The reader is the late Lynne Thigpen. In an excerpt from Nora Ephron’s Heartburn, performed by Joan Allen, a philandering husband gets just what he deserves. And an order of nuns has hidden strengths—and comic timing—in Claire Luchette’s...


Miracle Grow

Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works about growth helped along by some sort of fantastical assistance. The characters in these pieces are stuck; consciously or not, they're looking for something to give them just a little push. And that nudge comes in the form of magic. In “Isabella’s Garden” by Naomi Kritzer, a backyard nature site presents a young family with a new world of fertility. The reader is Jane Kaczmarek. In “My Dear You” by Rachel Khong, performed by Annie Q., the afterlife...


Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works featuring birds, curated by writer and bird aficionado Amy Tan. Ben Loory’s “The Frog and the Bird,” is a twist the traditional fable genre; it’s performed by Mike Doyle. Teenagers are transformed in “Town of Birds,” by Heather Monley, performed by Yetide Badaki; and an avian love song goes viral in Mikkel Rosengaard’s “The Mating Call,” performed by BD Wong. Tan comments on the program’s theme and the stories.


Great Escapes

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. And marriage, and a friendship, are tested in Jac Jemc’s “Infidelity,” performed by Kathleen Chalfant. All three stories were...


Wear and Tear

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, edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton. Leap is voiced by Jennifer Lim. And...


Out of Sight

Host Meg 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...

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.


Rites & Rituals

Guest host David Sedaris offers three stories that question social rites. “Cultural Relativity” is Charles Johnson’s witty retelling of a classic fairy tale; it’s read by Regina King. Zadie Smith reads her own “Lazy River”—ostensibly about a failed holiday in Spain, but also a deft satire about Brexit, class, and exploitation. And the cantankerous spinster In Jean Stafford’s “The Hope Chest” has a Dickensian moment of grace. Dana Ivey is the reader.


Embracing Change

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, 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...


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...


What's Left Behind

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 guide dogs for the blind learns how to let go, in Amy...



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 Michaela Watkins, an old college buddy turns up, and he’s got a...


Too Hot for Radio Rabih Alameddine: "The Prom Terrorists"

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. Join and give!:...


You've Lost It

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 Small Islands” charts the perilous course of a childhood...