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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.
 
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Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories in which strong bonds between women are evoked, by authors reflecting very different worlds. In Youmna Chlala’s “Nayla,” read by Rita Wolf, two young women in a traditional community form a friendship. In Susan Perabo’s “Life Off My E,” the relationship between sisters is reflected through their shared lov…
 
Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories from the influential literary journal Ploughshares. “y = mx+b,” by Andrew Altschul uses an algebraic formula to explore the act of storytelling and the shape of life itself. It’s performed by Peter Mark Kendall. In our second story, Jamel Brinkley’s “I Happy Am,” a boy who usually imagines himself as a ro…
 
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents two stories about unusual family members. In Alix Ohlin’s “The Cruise,” a heartsick divorcee travels with her unconventional aunt. Laura Benanti reads. An elderly dog is “A Permanent Member of the Family,” and a bone of contention, in this Russell Banks story performed by Zach Grenier. Join and give!: https://donat…
 
Guest host Meg Wolitzer presents our holiday show--two stories about being home for the holidays and how you can count on your Mom to be there for you—and possibly to complicate things. First, memoirist Augusten Burroughs recalls a disastrous—and hilarious—childhood cooking project. Reader Michael Cerveris relishes every bite. And in “Live Wires” b…
 
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 …
 
Guest host Hope Davis presents three uncanny stories featuring children. In Simon Rich’s hilarious “The Baby,” a novelist faces competition from his unborn son. Jason Mantzoukas is the reader. A children’s game takes a strange turn in Fiona McFarlane’s “Buttony,” read by Jin Ha. And Etgar Keret offers up an unusual mother-son story—and lots of calo…
 
Guest host Hope Davis presents three uncanny stories featuring children. In Simon Rich’s hilarious “The Baby,” a novelist faces competition from his unborn son. Jason Mantzoukas is the reader. A children’s game takes a strange turn in Fiona McFarlane’s “Buttony,” read by Jin Ha. And Etgar Keret offers up an unusual mother-son story—and lots of calo…
 
Guest host Roxane Gay (no mean cook herself) presents three stories centered on food. In “Three Great Meals” the late New Yorker humor writer Donald Barthelme. tells you how to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner from a terrifying medley of fast food and low-end canned goods. The story is read by Nate Corddry. In "Simple Recipes," author Madeleine …
 
Guest host Roxane Gay (no mean cook herself) presents three stories centered on food. In “Three Great Meals” the late New Yorker humor writer Donald Barthelme tells you how to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner from a terrifying medley of fast food and low-end canned goods. The story is read by Nate Corddry. In "Simple Recipes," author Madeleine T…
 
Guest host LeVar Burton presents three stories in which fantasies and memories are both near and far. In “The Elevator Dancer,” by N.K. Jemisin, a guard is obsessed by a woman who spins when no one is looking. Laura Gomez is the reader. A woman remembers a transforming moment in her Depression-era childhood in “Marigolds,” by Eugenia W. Collier. Th…
 
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two very different stories about the overlap of aspirations and dreams. In “Fairness,” by Nigerian-born writer Chinelo Okparanta, a young girl from a well-to-do household is obsessed with the idea of having lighter skin, an obsession shared by all the women in her family circle. The reader is Chinasa Ogbuagu. In R…
 
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories about the family dynamics between children and parents. It's never too early to defy gender norms, as Ivan E. Coyote confides in "No Bikini," read by Becca Blackwell. A woman confronts her mother's aging, and her own childlessness, in Kathryn Chetkovich's tender story "The World with My Mother Still In It,"…
 
Guest host Hope Davis presents three stories about being perceived, and remembered, by others. In Aimee Bender’s “The Rememberer,” wonderfully performed by the late Marian Seldes, a woman has to reconstruct her lover from memory as he undergoes an extraordinary transformation. In “Rumors About Me,” an ordinary man becomes a media sensation. The uns…
 
Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories in which a lot happens, but subtly. The narrator of A.M. Homes’ “Yours Truly” is “hiding in the linen closet” on a journey of self-discovery. The reader is Beth Malone. In Weike Wang’s “Omakase” a couple’s special sushi dinner proves unexpectedly revealing. The reader is Jennifer Lim.…
 
Guest host Roxane Gay presents two stories about making things work out, though sometimes at a cost. In “Loose Change,” by Andrea Levy, performed by Eve Best, a well-off Londoner has a strange encounter in an art gallery, one that recalls a pivotal moment in her family’s past. In Manuel Munoz’s "Anyone Can Do It,” a poor woman takes a risk in order…
 
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories by two masters of the short-story form. Humor, humanity, and fantasy all combine in four tales of things gone wrong. In “Fly Already” by Etgar Keret, performed by Liev Schreiber, a widower and his small son watch a drama unfold. In “Where Are You?” by Joyce Carol Oates, performed by Dianna Agron, a demandin…
 
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two stories in which social outliers strive for love. In “Tandolfo the Great,” by Richard Bausch, a sad-sack children’s clown falls head over heels—without a banana peel. Michael Ian Black is the reader. And American master Carson McCullers presents a complex theory about the nature of love, from a surprising sou…
 
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