Guest host Kate Burton presents two stories about parents and children. A mother and daughter remember the past differently in Tessa Hadley's "Matrilineal," performed by Patricia Kalember. And a surprising offer divides two families in "In the Country," by Guy de Maupassant, performed by Thomas Gibson.
Guest host Jane Curtin presents works by Anton Chekhov that were part of a celebration sponsored by Columbia University and hosted by Chekhov scholar Laura Strausfeld. We'll hear "A Drama," performed by Cynthia Nixon—an ambitious writer overwhelms her idol; "Rapture," performed by Robin Miles, Sam Underwood, Rainn Wilson, and Di Zhu—a young man enjoys his 15 minutes of fame; "Which is Better?," performed by Rainn Wilson—Chekhov debates the merits of schools vs. pubs; and "Verotchka," performed by Rainn Wilson—a studious young man confronts romance.
Guest host Kate Burton presents three stories about politics and voting, at home and abroad. In Chinau Achebe's "The Voter," a wily Nigerian campaign worker has a dilemma. Arthur French reads. Humorist Simon Rich turns a world-famous protest into a doomed courtship, in "Occupy Jen's Street," read by Wyatt Cenac. And a feisty voter gets the last word in"Taking Ms. Kezee to the Polls," by David Haynes, read by Michael Genét.
Hosts of the hit podcast offer up some of their favorite weird stories by Will Eno, Yoko Ogawa, Shirley Jackson, Patricia Lockwood, and Daniel Mallory Ortberg, performed by Cecil Baldwin, Marin Ireland, Dylan Marron, and Mara Wilson.
Guest host Hope Davis presents three improbable stories: in "The Orange," by Benjamin Rosenbaum, a citrus fruit rules the world. The read is John Cameron Mitchell. In "The Man, The Restaurant, and the Eiffel Tower," by Ben Loory, performed by Stana Katic, a father's children conspire to make him happy. In "I, Gentile," by David Gordon, performed by Michael Urie, a reluctant Jew falls in love with the wrong girl.
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two works about how we look at things. An independent woman, an IRS auditor, and a dog share a moment—and a poem--in "Yancey," by Ann Beattie, read by Mia Dillon. In "The Mappist," by Barry Lopez, a geographer is on the trail of a mysterious map maker. Joe Spano reads.
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two works curated with the online food and cooking community Food52. In J. Robert Lennon's "Breadman," artisanal bread threatens a marriage. Kyle MacLachlan reads. And Joan Allen performs an excerpt from Nora Ephron's novel Heartburn.
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents three works from The Best American Short Stories 2016. An American student meets her Ethiopian relatives in "The Suitcase," by Meron Hadero, read by Renée Elise Goldsberry. A young boy sees something unbelievable in Daniel O'Malley's "The Bridge," read by Joan Allen. And an endangered parrot pleads for compassion in "The Great Silence," by Ted Chiang, read by Elizabeth Rodriguez.
A story from Greg Ames, the author of a novel, Buffalo Lockjaw, and a collection of stories entitled Funeral Platter. His work has appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Southern Review, McSweeney's, North American Review, Catapult, and The Sun, among others. "Benefactor," is something of a cautionary tale for all would-be patrons of the arts; please don't let it stop you from sending us your tax-deductible donations. We recorded this story earlier in 2018 as a part of our live show in San Francisco during Sketchfest 2018. It's read by actor Lance Reddick, a multi-talented actor who has been in The Wire, Fringe, Bosch and the new Comedy Central series Corporate.
Today we're going to hear a story from Richard Bausch. This lifelong writer has produced novels and short story collections including Before During After, Peace, In the Night Season and the 2017 title Living in the Weather of the World. The actor performing it is David Strathairn, who is known for John Sayles films, Good Night and Good Luck, Lincoln, Alphas and so much more. Strathairn brings a lovely restraint to his performances, and as you'll hear, that quality lends a new dimension to Bausch's impulsive and vengeful narrator, a brother done wrong. We recorded this story during a live show in San Francisco as part of Sketchfest.