Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts Spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen.
Spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen. Whether we present stories around a lively theme, the favorite works of a guest author or a special collaboration with a museum or publication, each Selected Shorts event is a unique night of literature in performance.
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Screenwriter Charlie Kauffman, whose debut novel "Antkind" hit the shelves earlier this month, gives a cheeky interview ...
07/16/2020
Charlie Kaufman Is Sorry, He’s a Bit Distracted

Screenwriter Charlie Kauffman, whose debut novel "Antkind" hit the shelves earlier this month, gives a cheeky interview about the books on his beside table (aka, the floor next to his sleeping bag), his fantasy dinner party guests, and more:

“I’m fairly certain I just swallowed a tooth.”

07/16/2020

In Alba de Céspedes' “Invitation to Dinner," a married couple hopes to restore pre-World War II elegance. Actor Dawn Akemi Saito reads the story on this week's episode of Selected Shorts, which features tales from the new Penguin Classics Book of Italian Short Stories, edited by Jhumpa Lahiri. Listen here: https://bit.ly/3gJl3CI

07/15/2020
Virtual Selected Shorts: Little Rebellions

See you tonight for Virtual Selected Shorts: Little Rebellions! Be sure to set your reminder on YouTube here:

At a time of grand upheaval, Selected Shorts makes room for life’s minor insurrections. The people in these stories want to change, and they’ll buck social n...

"Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more wa...
07/15/2020
The First Black-Owned Bookstore and the Fight for Freedom | JSTOR Daily

"Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more ways than one... it is said that Ruggles would help 'more than 1000 men and women to escape from slavery.'"

Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more ways than one.

07/15/2020

This week on Selected Shorts, we read stories from the magnificent collection from Penguin Classics, 'The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories,' edited by Jhumpa Lahiri. The great John Turturro performs Leonardo Sciascia’s “The Long Voyage,” a tale about hopeful peasants try to make it to a mysterious place called “Trenton.” Find the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://bit.ly/3gJl3CI

The publishing industry is entering into a "rare moment of transformation that promises to influence the books put out i...
07/15/2020
In Publishing, ‘Everything Is Up for Change’

The publishing industry is entering into a "rare moment of transformation that promises to influence the books put out into the world," as new, diverse appointments in high ranking positions begin to move in, including Lisa Lucas, the former executive director of the National Book Foundation, who will transition to become the publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books.

A wave of deaths and retirements prompted publishers to name new leaders. Now the industry is in a rare moment of transformation that promises to influence the books put out into the world.

Tomorrow! Selected Shorts returns with another virtual installment, this time featuring stories all about life's little ...
07/14/2020
Virtual Selected Shorts: Little Rebellions

Tomorrow! Selected Shorts returns with another virtual installment, this time featuring stories all about life's little rebellions. Join Jane Kaczmarek, Nate Corddry, Ann Dowd, and Randall Park at 7:30 on our YouTube channel. Learn more:

Symphony Space is a performing arts center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan offering theater, film, literature, music, dance and family entertainment. Our mission is to connect art, ideas, and community through our programs and our commitment to literacy and education through the arts.

07/13/2020

We're so excited to welcome both new and familiar faces to this week's virtual Selected Shorts! Jane Kaczmarek, Nate Corddry, Ann Dowd, and Randall Park come together for an evening of stories about life’s minor insurrections during a time of great upheaval. Learn more about this week's Virtual Selected Shorts: Little Rebellions here: https://bit.ly/38IVwH3

"...I wonder if a passing glance at my deadmother is enough to make a poet out of anyone. I wonderif I’m the song she hu...
07/13/2020
“A Stranger”

"...I wonder if a passing glance at my dead
mother is enough to make a poet out of anyone. I wonder

if I’m the song she hums as she waits for the light to change
or if I’m just the traffic signal holding her up."

Read author Saeed Jones' new poem in The New Yorker:

“I wonder if my dead mother still thinks of me.”

07/13/2020

This week on Shorts, #HughDancy gives a dazzling performance of Massimo Bontempelli’s “The Miraculous Beach, or, Prize for Modesty.” The story was selected from The Penguin Classics Book of Italian Short Stories, edited by Jhumpa Lahiri. Find the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://bit.ly/3gJl3CI

"Toby didn’t know if he himself was a miracle or if he was on borrowed time. He had no symptoms, even after working in a...
07/13/2020
Fleishman Is in Lockdown: A Short Story by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

"Toby didn’t know if he himself was a miracle or if he was on borrowed time. He had no symptoms, even after working in a hospital at the hot-zone height of this thing."

Read the quarantine sequel to Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s best-selling novel "Fleishman Is in Trouble" in The Cut:

A sequel, exclusive to the Cut, in which Dr. Toby Fleishman works through the pandemic at a New York hospital.

On our newest episode of Selected Shorts, guest host Hope Davis presents a program of Italian short fiction selected by ...
07/10/2020

On our newest episode of Selected Shorts, guest host Hope Davis presents a program of Italian short fiction selected by the novelist and short-story writer Jhumpa Lahiri, drawn from The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, which Lahiri edited. John Turturro performs the story “The Long Voyage” by Leonardo Sciascia. Alba de Céspedes' story "Invitation to Dinner” is performed by Dawn Akemi Saito, and Hugh Dancy closes out the episode with a reading of Massimo Bontempelli’s “The Miraculous Beach, or, Prize for Modesty." Find the episode wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://bit.ly/3gJl3CI

Penguin Classics

In their new book, long-time friends Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman "describe intense friendships as one of life’s founda...
07/10/2020
Keep Your Friends Close, and Keep Holding Them Closer

In their new book, long-time friends Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman "describe intense friendships as one of life’s foundations, neglected at our peril and, likely, our regret."

In their new book, “Big Friendship,” Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman make the case that platonic relationships deserve as much effort and tending as romantic ones.

07/09/2020

We love S. Epatha Merkerson's incredible performance in our Toni Morrison episode of Selected Shorts! Merkerson lends her talents to an excerpt of Morrison's brilliant novel "Jazz." Find the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://bit.ly/38CasXz

07/09/2020

On our episode of Selected Shorts celebrating the great Toni Morrison, Phylicia Ayers-Allen Rashad gives a stunning reading from an excerpt of Morrison's novel "Sweetness." Find the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://bit.ly/38CasXz

07/08/2020

Author Tayari Jones reads Toni Morrison's brilliant essay “A Knowing So Deep" on this week's episode of Selected Shorts. Find the episode, which includes more wonderful performances of Morrison's works by her friends, colleagues, and admirers, wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://bit.ly/38CasXz

“Tiny Reparations Books will be a highly curated imprint dedicated to publishing both literary fiction and nonfiction as...
07/08/2020
Phoebe Robinson is partnering with Plume to launch a new imprint called Tiny Reparations Books.

“Tiny Reparations Books will be a highly curated imprint dedicated to publishing both literary fiction and nonfiction as well as essay collections that highlight and amplify unique and diverse voices."

We ❤️ Phoebe Robinson and are so excited for her new imprint!

Today, Penguin Random House announced the launch of a new imprint, Tiny Reparations Books, founded by New York Times bestselling author, comedian, actress, and producer Phoebe Robinson. Robinson wi…

This week on Selected Shorts, we celebrate late literary icon Toni Morrison. Host Tayari Jones presents a program featur...
07/06/2020

This week on Selected Shorts, we celebrate late literary icon Toni Morrison. Host Tayari Jones presents a program featuring performances of Morrison's works by friends, colleagues, and admirers, including her essay “A Knowing So Deep” read by Jones, an excerpt from The Bluest Eye performed by Anika Noni Rose, an excerpt from Jazz performed by S. Epatha Merkerson, and “Sweetness” performed by Phylicia Ayers-Allen Rashad. We also hear a tribute from writer Fran Lebowitz, who says that Morrison was “two of my four best friends.” Find the episode wherever you get your podcasts, or listen here: https://www.symphonyspace.org/selected-shorts/episodes/celebrating-toni-morrison-1

"With its central location in Bjørvika, the new library becomes a vibrant hub—a modern meeting place for learning and ex...
07/06/2020
Look inside Oslo’s stunning new public library, now open to the public.

"With its central location in Bjørvika, the new library becomes a vibrant hub—a modern meeting place for learning and exchange of knowledge."

Take a look at Olso's beautiful new public library:

On June 18th, Oslo’s new public library, Deichman Bjørvika, opened its doors to the public. Located on Oslo’s waterfront, and spanning six floors and 140,000 square feet, “Norway’…

"Writing poetry for me was always a political act."Leading black British poets including Linton Kwesi Johnson, Grace Nic...
07/04/2020
Poetic justice: black lives and the power of poetry

"Writing poetry for me was always a political act."

Leading black British poets including Linton Kwesi Johnson, Grace Nichols and Raymond Antrobus share their thoughts on protest, change and the trailblazers who inspired them:

Leading black British poets including Linton Kwesi Johnson, Grace Nichol and Raymond Antrobus share their thoughts on protest, change and the trailblazers who inspired them

"We are here in America now as we have been in America always. When we are struck down and held back. When our bodies ar...
07/04/2020
Dear Black America: A Letter From Tracy K. Smith

"We are here in America now as we have been in America always. When we are struck down and held back. When our bodies are corrupted by the violence of others. When we love. When, as now, we are trapped inside of finitude and flesh. During all of this and then some, Black America, we are agents of the eternal."

Poet Tracy K. Smith’s letter to Black America:

Dear Black America– We are many things, aren’t we? We are hair. God yes, we are hair. And song. And memory. We are a language so deep it has no need for words. And we are words that feint, dart and…

Our next Virtual Selected Shorts is right around the corner! This time around, Jane Kaczmarek hosts an evening featuring...
07/04/2020
Virtual Selected Shorts: Little Rebellions

Our next Virtual Selected Shorts is right around the corner! This time around, Jane Kaczmarek hosts an evening featuring stories from authors Amelia Gray, Robert Sheckley, Elizabeth Winthrop, and more, read by actors Ann Dowd, Michael Imperioli, and Randall Park. Learn more:

Symphony Space is a performing arts center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan offering theater, film, literature, music, dance and family entertainment. Our mission is to connect art, ideas, and community through our programs and our commitment to literacy and education through the arts.

A dozen new books to carry you through the long weekend:
07/04/2020
12 new books for the long weekend.

A dozen new books to carry you through the long weekend:

Somehow Fourth of July weekend is upon us. While you might not be spending it the way you usually do (big family barbecue, a day at the beach, crammed in the crowds trying to watch the Macy’s…

"An author, literary agent, marketer, publicist, editors and booksellers talk about how race affects their careers  — an...
07/02/2020
‘A Conflicted Cultural Force’: What It’s Like to Be Black in Publishing

"An author, literary agent, marketer, publicist, editors and booksellers talk about how race affects their careers — and the books you read." -The New York Times

An author, literary agent, marketer, publicist, editors and booksellers talk about how race affects their careers — and the books you read.

"Not a lot is written about Angelica Schuyler, but when you google her, you'll see her described as a muse. She was famo...
07/02/2020
Renée Elise Goldsberry and the Importance of 'Hamilton' Right Now

"Not a lot is written about Angelica Schuyler, but when you google her, you'll see her described as a muse. She was famously, extremely intelligent." -Renée Elise Goldsberry

Read about Goldsberry's experience playing Angelica in the original cast of "Hamilton", and the importance of telling history more truthfully:

“There is a responsibility to tell history more truthfully and 'Hamilton' is just the beginning of that journey,” says Goldsberry.

Read about how a retired Cincinnati teacher continues to share stories and build community through her mobile bookstore,...
07/02/2020
Why A Retired Cincinnati Teacher Started The Book Bus, A Mobile “Bookstore On Wheels”

Read about how a retired Cincinnati teacher continues to share stories and build community through her mobile bookstore, The Book Bus:

When Melanie Moore retired, she wanted to open a brick and mortar bookstore. But, wary of the cost, she instead started Cincinnati-based mobile bookstore The Book Bus, doing book pop-ups and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, selling books online and at birthday parties and hosting a Zoom book club.

Books by Octavia Butler, Britt Bennett, Colson Whitehead, and more incredible authors, recommended by booksellers from B...
07/02/2020
10 Books Recommended by Black-Owned Bookstores

Books by Octavia Butler, Britt Bennett, Colson Whitehead, and more incredible authors, recommended by booksellers from Black-owned shops:

Black-owned bookstores recommended books on their reading lists, including the latest book from Brit Bennett and a book written in 1645.

“She believes in the itching and the ornery and the oddly shaped, and has been trying to produce fiction that feels as i...
06/30/2020
The Unruly Genius of Joyce Carol Oates

“She believes in the itching and the ornery and the oddly shaped, and has been trying to produce fiction that feels as irreducible to simple meanings."

On the “unruly genius” of Joyce Carol Oates:

In an era that fetishizes form, Oates has become America’s preëminent fiction writer by doing everything you’re not supposed to do.

Celebrate #Pride with our latest episode of Selected Shorts! Guest host Denis O’Hare joins us in honoring the landmark e...
06/28/2020

Celebrate #Pride with our latest episode of Selected Shorts! Guest host Denis O’Hare joins us in honoring the landmark event that helped give birth to the modern movement for LGBTQIA+ rights in America. On this special program, we first hear eyewitness accounts of the riots drawn from The Stonewall Reader. Featuring comments and performances by Ivory Aquino, Kate Bornstein, Michael Early, Beth Malone, Kay Ulanday Barrett, John Benjamin Hickey, and Nancy Podcast's Tobin Low and Kathy Tu. Listen: https://bit.ly/3gcMlBn

"Were my colleagues and I right to think that the institution to which we had given much of our professional lives could...
06/27/2020
The Bloom Has Faded - The American Scholar

"Were my colleagues and I right to think that the institution to which we had given much of our professional lives could be reformed? Was our particular culture as teachers of Western culture compromised to the core? If it was, must we then, well, defund the teaching of the canon?

An honest answer is, for better and worse, complicated."

Robert Zaretsky ruminates on how the Western literary “canon wars” can change in the wake of America's current racial reckoning:

Reforming the Western canon may not go far enough

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Comments

Can you fix the audio in the "Reality Checks" evening? Impossible to hear the end of the Josh Radnor story because of an audio problem.
Ilya Krivosheev is young prose writer, pastry cook and traveler from Russia. His last literary project “The Major Arcana” is collection of twenty-two stories, where the plots are played on the basis of tarot cards.
Heck, I'm trying to find an audio of Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl" I heard in the 90s (and I think played on the radio?) that was in a Caribbean accent and full of sass. Anyone know where to find it? I've reviewed the audio and video bits I could find by googling. Thanks! I may have heard it on SS.
I have been searching for a Yom Kippur story, I think it was called "The Cell Phones," but I can't find it. Does anyone know where I can find this story, or at least the author's name?
I was hoping someone could help me - I heard a story several years ago on Selected Shorts and I don't remember the title or author. The story was about a teenager who babysat young children at an old mansion. The children had a ritual where whenever they walked up the stairs they would spin around and say a chant, which they claimed kept the monsters/ghosts away. The babysitter plays along until one day an intruder breaks into the house and chases her up the stairs until suddenly he vanishes. Does anybody know this story?
We are deeply saddened to hear that Selected Shorts host Isaiah Sheffer has passed away. May he Rest In Peace. Prayers to the Family....Bob & Holly Gerspacher
I'm looking for a short story that was about a man describing his childhood. It seems like it was a Christmas episode. There was something about a sled and snow. My late brother played this story for me years ago and I am having the hardest time recalling the episode. I remember loving it and sharing in that story with him.
Ian Fraser's Lamentations of the Father, broadcast Jun 23 2018 was HYSTERICAL
Sad day, fellow Selected Shorts fans: My hard drive with the complete downloaded archive of all episodes gave up the ghost. If you would like to gather 'round and say a few words–what are your favorite episodes? I listened to some old Edgar Allen Poe readings more than once as well as this tower of Babel story that had something to do with digging. I remember a story about a man in Japan who survived, or did not survive, a tsunami. So many stories. :-(
Just discovered this website-so interesting!
I love the podcast but I wonder if there is any way to hear it uncensored.
Awesome program been listening a long time