Spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen.
It All Depends on How You Look at It
Guest host Sonia Manzano presents two stories about identity, appearance, and longing. In Elizabeth Crane’s “Blue Girl,” a young woman learns how to embrace difference. The reader is Valorie Curry. “Different” is certainly how you’d describe the folktale character Rumplestiltskin, but in Michael Cunningham’s remix, that doesn’t keep him from wanting a normal life. Zach Grenier reads “Little Man.”
Celebrating James Baldwin
Guest host LeVar Burton presents a program celebrating the author he calls “potent and polemical.” Christopher Jackson reads an excerpt from Baldwin’s famous letter The Fire Next Time: in “My Dungeon Shook,” he addresses internalized racism. Next, Anthony Rapp performs an excerpt from Giovanni's Room, in which an ex-pat comes to terms with his sexuality and loneliness in Paris. And Baldwin contemplates The Great Migration in his novel Go Tell It On The Mountain. We hear an excerpt performed by Charlayne Woodard.
Fables and Fairy Tales
Guest host Josh Radnor presents three stories drawn from the world of fables and fairy tales, but with a modern twist. Maulik Pancholy reads Somerset Maugham’s “Appointment in Samarra”; when your time is up, it’s up. Ben Loory gives us a kinder, gentler take on the old “monster in the closet” idea in “The Monster,” read by John Cameron Mitchell. Kelly Link’s “The Faery Handbag” is part folk tale, part love story, part coming-of-age story. It’s read by Kirsten Vangsness.
Too Hot For Radio: Robin Hemley "Reply All"
A thrilling and laugh-out-loud funny account of how a cheating couple broadcast their affair to an entire listserv. This story was read by two very funny actors during Selected Shorts’ annual visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles. D’Arcy Carden is a performer whose credits include Barry, Broad City, and the beloved Janet on The Good Place; Baron Vaughn can be seen on Grace and Frankie and heard on the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as well as Corporate on Comedy Central. Robin Hemley is an accomplished fiction and nonfiction writer who has won both a Pushcart Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has written more than a dozen books including Do-Over!, and The Big Ear, as well as a forthcoming book (nonfiction) in March titled Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood. Our story, "Reply All" appears in his collection titled 21012 Reply All.
1 hr 7 min
Words Without Borders
Guest host Kate Burton presents three stories in translation selected with the international literary organization Words Without Borders. A wealthy woman winds up on the other side of the poverty line in Évelyne Trouillot’s “Detour,” performed by Rita Wolf and Arian Moayed, and introduced by Siri Hustvedt. A civil servant becomes a soccer star in Reka Man-Varhegyi’s "Woman Striker Has Killer Left Foot,” performed by Adina Verson. And two teenage misfits visit a chimp in “Muzaffer and Bananas” by Yalçın Tosun, performed by Arian Moayed, and introduced by Karan Mahajan.
Guest host David Sedaris presents two stories about quiet times. Leonard Nimoy reads Raymond Carver's classic "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," which is what perplexes the married couples sitting around drinking gin on a slow summer evening. It's also summer in Bernard Malamud's "A Summer's Reading," and a rootless young man is trying to find a path in life. David Rakoff was the reader.
Larger Than Life
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories about characters who are a little larger than life. First, the story that inspired the Hollywood classic All About Eve, Mary Orr’s “The Wisdom of Eve,” performed by Stana Katic. Next, in Louise Erdrich’s powerful mother-daughter story “The Leap” a former trapeze artist pushes herself to the limit. It’s read by Elizabeth Reaser.
Guest host Krista Tippett, of On Being, presents short fiction and poems that confront issues of art, faith, and spirituality.First, a clergyman is tempted in "The Strength of God, Concerning the Reverend Curtis Hartman" by Sherwood Anderson, read by James Naughton. In Elizabeth Crane's "You Must Be This Happy to Enter" a time-travelling artist has a positive attitude. The reader is Claire Danes. A gold digger has second thoughts in Anton Chekhov's "An Enigmatic Nature," read by Fionnula Flanagan. Also featured are poems by Tracy K. Smith and David Whyte.