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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.
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New York, NY





Spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen.




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


Strange Bedfellows

Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents two stories about strange, and strained, relationships. In James Salter's "Last Night," a dying wife has a last supper. The reader is Amy Ryan. And Padgett Powell imagines what would happen if Janis Joplin met Charles Dickens in the third grade. John Cameron Mitchell reads "Joplin and Dickens." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Behaving Badly with Andy Borowitz

Guest host Andy Borowitz relishes transgression and presents three stories featuring people going off the rails. First, Padgett Powell imagines the post-presidential life of Boris Yeltsin in “Yeltsin Dancing,” read by Arian Moayed. Then, a middle school geography teacher loses her way in Amy Sauber’s “State Facts for the New Age,” read by Amy Ryan. Finally, a classic by Donald Barthelme, “Some of Us Have Been Threatening our friend Colby,” read by Joe Grifasi. Learn more about your ad...


Deceiving Appearances: Stories by Shirley Jackson

Guest host Jane Curtin presents three stories by the American master Shirley Jackson. In “The Smoking Room,” read by Cristin Milioti, a spunky co-ed confronts the Devil. A distracted husband knows something’s not right in “Company for Dinner” read by Stephen Kunken. And an irritable old lady is in for a bumpy ride on “The Bus,” read by Paul Giamatti. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


April Foolery

Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three unlikely stories for some April foolery. A hive threatens an office romance in Ryan Boudinot’s “Bee Beard,” read by Tony Hale. A man finds an ingenious way to escape his own life in Susan Sontag’s “The Dummy,” read by Justin Kirk. And Miranda July imagines a senior citizens’ “Swim Team,” in a story read by Parker Posey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit



Guest host Denis O’Hare introduces two stories about outsiders. A tutor finds her privileged teenage client mystifying in Kyle McCarthy’s “Ancient Rome,” read by Tavi Gevinson. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Thing Around Your Neck,” a young Nigerian woman comes to America for the first time, and it’s not what she imagined. The story is read by Condola Rashad. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Best American Short Stories at 100

Guest host Robert Sean Leonard introduces two works celebrating the 100th anniversary of the anthology The Best American Short Stories. The first is an early classic, Sherwood Anderson’s “Brothers,” a tale of love, obsession, and compulsion read by Jane Kaczmarek. Next, Julie Otsuka portrays one woman’s disintegrating memory in “Diem Perdidi,” read by Jayne Atkinson. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit



Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents four works about love and friendship, In William Goyen's "The Texas Principessa," read by Doris Roberts, a good friend leaves a stunning legacy. Jackie Hoffman reads an excerpt about a jilted lover from David Rakoff's final work, "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish." A young couple have an idyllic day on the river in Rick Bass's "The Canoeists," read by Neil Patrick Harris. And Bill Irwin and John Lithgow read Edward Lear’s classic poem “The Owl...


Not Your Mother's Love Stories

Guest host Dennis O’Hare presents two unorthodox love stories. British writer Jane Gardam twists Hans Christian Andersen’s tale in a saucy reboot of “The Little Mermaid.” Her version, “The Pangs of Love,” is read by Jane Kaczmarek. And Sharon Gless performs “Hat Trick,” by Edith Pearlman, in which four young girls choose husbands by chance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Too Hot For Radio Brit Bennett "Ain’t That Good News"

A story by the up-and-coming writer Brit Bennett. Bennett is the real friggin’ deal: Her debut novel “The Mothers” made a splash in 2016 (soon to be a movie starring Kerry Washington), the same year she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” She has written essays for The Paris Review, The New York Times and The New Yorker, but remains focused on fiction. While her stories deal with seemingly ordinary people in insular communities, they’re like a rocket full of...


Too Hot For Radio Robert Coover “Invasion of the Martians"

On this show, we’re going to hear a story from the inimitable Robert Coover. In the second half of the 20th century, Coover made his name as an innovator in the realm of nonrealistic fiction alongside contemporaries such as Donald Barthelme and William Gass. Coover is a fun, funny, restless, relentless writer who loves prodding at standard forms of storytelling until they yield something new and different. Plus he’s got a wonderfully filthy mouth. This story was first published in The New...


Too Hot For Radio Anthony Tognazzini “Neighbors"

Today a story by the author Anthony Tognazzini that was part of an evening we recorded at Symphony Space with the literary journal, Electric Literature. It’s a story about being an outsider, and yet being the object of fascination at the same time. Tognazzini received a Pushcart nomination, an award from the Academy of American Poets, and fellowships to the Prague Summer Writers' Workshop and Ledig House Writer's Colony. He holds an MFA from Indiana University. The readers are well known...


Too Hot For Radio Bruce Jay Friedman “The Tax Man"

Bruce Jay Friedman has been hailed by critics as a comic genius, a writer whose vision confronts the malaise of contemporary life with a liberating deadpan humor. Friedman has published several novels, multiple collections of short stories, four plays, and several works of nonfiction. His short story “A Change of Plan” was adapted by Neil Simon and Elaine May into the movie The Heartbreak Kid. He wrote the movie scripts for Doctor Detroit, Stir Crazy, and Splash, for which he received an...


Welcome to Selected Shorts: Too Hot For Radio

Over the years, Selected Shorts has recorded amazing stories that due to language issues or content advisories were, well, too hot for radio. Now we've unlocked the vault and we're bringing you all the steam, gore, and profanity that makes the FCC crazy in this new podcast. Hosted by comedian Aparna Nancherla, you’ll hear from some of our authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Simon Rich and readers like RISK podcast host Kevin Allison, and who knows who might pop into the studio to let us know...


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