Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts

From PRI

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

Most Recent Episodes

Brief Lives

Life is fleeting in these three works presented by guest host Michael Cerveris. Andy Warhol complains about fifteen seconds of fame in excerpts from his diaries read by Denis O'Hare. A novelist borrows someone else's tragedy in "The Young Painters," read by Heather Burns. And a young boy and his grandmother in rural Ireland make a dramatic decision in Claire Keegan's "The Burning Palms," read by Patricia Kalember.

Episode 20 Julia Slavin "Covered"

From Julia Slavin's collection, The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club, a dark and funny story about not being able to leave your childhood behind. As you'll hear, reader Alec Baldwin finds the humor, absurdity and, ultimately, the humanity through his reading. Later in this episode, host Aparna Nancherla chats with Julia Slavin about the origins of "Covered."

Women's Roles

Guest host Kate Burton presents three works in which women are subjects, objects, or catalysts. The Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood has excellent street cred as a feminist, with books like The Edible Woman and The Handmaid's Tale. So she's allowed to poke a little fun at political correctness, which she does in "There Was Once." It's performed by Jane Kaczmarek, Rene Auberjonois, and Zach Grenier. An actress is offered an unsympathetic part in "A Leading Role," by Tove Jansson, also read by Jane Kaczmarek. In Smith Henderson's "Treasure State," a young girl hitches a ride with runaway brothers. The reader is Michael Shannon.

Uncharted Territories

Guest host Sonia Manzano presents three works about entering uncharted territories. An early John Updike fable, "The Different One," imagines a bold bunny. It's read by Michael Emerson. A gentrified town morphs into a dreamscape in Steven Millhauser's "Coming Soon," ready by David Morse. And Kirstin Valdez Quade's essay "Youth From Every Quarter" looks at the harsher side of assimilation. It's read by Manzano.

Episode 19 David Sedaris "Road Trips"

Actor Sam Underwood (The Following) reads a Sedaris story you're never going to hear on Public Radio. Also, guest host Lorin Stein (Editor of The Paris Review) talks to Sedaris about his work, and what stories he would love to hear on Too Hot For Radio.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two sweet tales of happily ever after. In Maile Meloy's "The Proxy Marriage," the shy hero marries the love of his life over and over. The reader is Patricia Kalember. And Anne Meara performs "The Worm in the Apple," John Cheever's tale of a marriage so perfect no one can believe it.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Guest host David Sedaris two stories about learning from your mistakes. Isaiah Sheffer reads Tobias Wolff's "Mortals," in which a botched obit leads to a life lesson. In Edwidge Danticat's "Reading Lessons," read by Marsha Stephanie Blake, it is the teacher who is taught.

Episode 18 Angela Carter "In the Company of Wolves"

Guest host Lorin Stein, editor in chief of The Paris Review, introduces a story by the late English novelist and critic Angela Carter. Carter was known for her work reinventing fairy tales and counted among her fans director Neil Jordan, who made "In the Company of Wolves" into a movie, as well as author Neil Gaiman, who is heard on this episode talking about why he loves Carter's stories. Later in the podcast, Lorin talks to Slate critic Laura Miller, about Carter's fascinating life and what fueled her work.

Episode 18 Angela Carter "In the Company of Wolves"

Laugh Riot: The Best of the Harvard Lampoon

Guest host Kate Burton presents a cornucopia of funny pieces from the volume The Best of The Harvard Lampoon, include works by Patricia Marx and BJ Novak. Readers include Wyatt Cenac, Michael Emerson, Richard Masur, and Alysia Reiner.

Untrue Love

Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories about untrue love. A devoted wife worships her sailor husband in Daphne du Maurier's "La Sainte-Vierge," read by Kathryn Erbe. And Paul Giamatti reads a sci-fi classic by Robert Sheckley, "Pilgrimage to Earth," in which a traveller from a distant planet comes to Earth to find love.

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