Selected Shorts-logo

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.


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


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.


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.


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...


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...


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...


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...


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.


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,...


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.


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...


Jokes and Poems with Mike Birbiglia and J. Hope Stein

We reprise a recent favorite this week: Guest host Jane Curtin presents a cornucopia of jokes, poems, and stories from a live program with comedian Mike Birbiglia and poet J. Hope Stein. The couple shares material from their book, The New One, about the birth of their daughter, as well as works from some of their favorite writers. Among the featured works are stories and poetry by Joy Harjo, Paige Lewis, Ada Limón, Simon Rich, David Sedaris, Maggie Smith, and Zadie Smith. With performances...


Objects of Love

Host Meg Wolitzer presents two stories about objects of love, and feelings that can't be returned, for very different reasons. In “A Love Letter,” by Greg Ames, a boy falls head over heels in a crosswalk. Actor and YA author Maulik Pancholy really captures teen ardor and angst in his reading. And in Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s “Sugar Babies,” another teenager learns about adult responsibility from an everyday pantry staple. The reader is Sonia Manzano, best known for her role on Sesame Street.


When Push Comes to Shove: Stories by George Saunders

On this Selected Shorts we turn the show over to universally beloved author George Saunders. Saunders somehow finds the good, or at any rate the imperfectly human, in his characters. The result is a catalog as funny as it is moving, as devastating as it is hopeful. On this program, two stories that perfectly illustrate this. “Love Letter” is from Saunders’ latest collection Liberation Day. In it, an anxious grandfather who is ambivalent about the state of the world counsels an older...


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.


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...


On the Run

Host Meg Wolitzer presents two gripping stories about people in flight. In Rebecca Makkai’s “The Briefcase,” performed by Victor Garber, an escaped prisoner assumes another man’s identity. In “Paradise,” by Yxta Maya Murray, a young widow and mother runs from a fire, but can’t escape the challenges of her family life. Tanis Parenteau is the reader.


New Frontiers

Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about quests and travel, which pose the question “How far do we need to go to find what we want, whether that something be an ephemeral pleasure, a lasting relationship, or a symbolic object?” In Margaret Atwood’s playful origin story “The Martians Claim Canada,” extraterrestrials invade—in search of a good musical. Jane Kaczmarek reads. In Lesley Nneka Arimah’s powerful “Options,” performed by Zainab Jah, a discarded daughter seeks love. And in the third,...


UnWrapping the Holidays

Meg Wolitzer presents three unexpected stories that let us see the holidays’ associations—family, friends, food, gifts, and goodwill—in different ways. Amy Krouse Rosenthal presents a playful encounter with the Almighty in “Interview with God,” performed by Jayne Atkinson and James Naughton. In Sherrie Flick’s “Heidi is Dead,” read by Adina Verson, a second wife tries to tune in with her in-laws. And John Cheever’s “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor” is a richly comic and warmhearted...


The Stand-Ins

Meg Wolitzer presents a show of stories about replacements and stand-ins. While we tend to crave the original, sometimes a substitute can bring more happiness. In Steve Almond’s “A Happy Dream,” read by Phil LaMarr, a young man assumes a new identity in pursuit of love. In “A Brief Note on the Translation of Winter Women, Written by the Collective Dead, Translated by Amal Ruth,” a writer speaks for those who have passed. The “real” author is Rivers Solomon, and the reader is TL Thompson. In...


Prove Your Love

Meg Wolitzer presents a show of stories about our need to have “proof of love”—some demonstration by those nearest and dearest of exactly how much they care. A lot, in Etgar Keret’s sweetly improbable “Almost Everything,” in which a husband looks for the perfect gift for a demanding wife. It’s read by Liev Schreiber. In Jacob Guajardo’s “Conquistadors, on Fairchild,” read by Michael Hartney, old flames reconnect, but it’s not clear where they are headed.And in a classic from our archives,...