Selected Shorts Your favorite actors bringing great stories to life.
Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts

From PRX

Your favorite actors bringing great stories to life.

Most Recent Episodes

Two Against the World

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 love of Scrabble. Hope Davis is the reader.

I Do, I Do

Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories about marriage. A theatrical union is subtly tested in Bruce Jay Friedman's "Any Number of Little Old Ladies," performed by Blythe Danner and Maulik Pancholy. And love is stretched thin, but rebounds, in Roxana Robinson's "In Naples," read by Betty Buckley.

Best Intentions

Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents two stories in which people go overboard to demonstrate their devotion. In Robin Hemley's "A Printer's Tale," a poet's boyfriend hijacks a national magazine for her love--and one reader isn't pleased. Reader Robert Sean Leonard brings an eccentric trio to life. In "Oh Shenandoah," by Maura Stanton, a determined young woman wants to call it quits with her overzealous fiancé. But they're in Venice—and there's this toilet seat problem. Broadway powerhouse Kelli O'Hara reads—and sings—"Oh Shenandoah."

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

A story by the writer Brit Bennett, "Ain't That Good News" is tender, sad, and packs a wallop. You'll be completely hooked. Bennett's 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." Her new novel, The Vanishing Half, published in June, is already a New York Times bestseller and has garnered reviews like, "This is sure to be one of 2020's best and boldest," Elle, and Bookpage compares her work to Toni Morrison, Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Strout. 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 fortune cookies, propulsive and full of canny observations. Our actor Karen Pittman absolutely nails this reading. Pittman has been in series including The Americans and Luke Cage, and has appeared on Broadway in plays such as Disgraced and Good People.


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 calories--in "Crumb Cake," performed by Andy Richter.

Past and Future

Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents a show about the past, the future, and how time flies. A young actor recalls critical moments in her childhood in Elizabeth Strout's "Snow Blind," read by Melora Hardin. Old schoolmates almost hook up in Joyce Carol Oates' "August Evening," read by Sonia Manzano. In our final story, a lifetime goes by in "Half a Day," by Naguib Mahfooz, read by Bruce Altman.

Journeys, Memories, and Miracles: Italian Short Stories

Guest host Hope Davis presents a program of Italian short fiction selected by the novelist and short-story writer Jhumpa Lahiri. The stories were drawn from The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, which Lahiri edited. They range from the comic to the fantastical. In Leonardo Sciascia's "The Long Voyage," hopeful peasants try to make it to a mysterious place called "Trenton." The reader is John Turturro. A couple hopes to restore pre-World War II elegance in "Invitation to Dinner," by Alba de Cespedes, read by Dawn Akemi Saito. And there's heat, sand, water, and magical realism on offer in Massimo Bontempelli's "The Miraculous Beach, or, Prize for Modesty, read by Hugh Dancy.

Celebrating Toni Morrison

Guest host Tayari Jones helps us to celebrate this American master, who died in 2019. Her novels, including Beloved, Jazz and Song of Solomon, have become an indelible part of the American canon. Her fierce, poetic visions earned her the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also an editor, advocate, teacher, and mother. This program features her essay "A Knowing So Deep," read by Jones; an excerpt from The Bluest Eye, read by Anika Noni Rose; an excerpt from Jazz, read by S. Epatha Merkerson; "Sweetness," read by Phylicia Rashad, and a tribute by Fran Lebowitz.

Too Hot For Radio: Mona Simpson "Wrong Object"

Mona Simpson is the author of six books including Anywhere But Here, My Hollywood and Casebook. Her Too Hot For Radio story features a therapist, a patient, and one uniquely inappropriate relationship.This story was originally published in Harper's and selected by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All The Light You Cannot See, Anthony Doerr, for The Best American Short Stories 2019 for which he served as the guest editor. Read by the incomparable Cynthia Nixon, the story can be described as moving, unsettling, disturbing, but above all else, captivating. Please note, as with all Too Hot for Radio episodes, this show contains strong language and mature subject matter.

Shout it Out: The Stonewall Uprising at 50

Guest host Denis O'Hare helps us mark the landmark event that helped give birth to the modern movement for LGBTQIA+ rights in America. We first hear eyewitness accounts of the riots, drawn from The Stonewall Reader. Additional works include Perry Brass's "We Did It"; poems by Kay Ulanday Barrett; and Gary Eldon Peter's story "Wedding." Readers include Ivory Aquino, Kate Bornstein, Michael Early, Beth Malone, Kay Ulanday Barrett, and John Benjamin Hickey.

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