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.


  • Out of Sight

    04/04/2024 Duração: 01h01min

    HostMeg Wolitzer shares three stories about people who put things out of sight—and try to put them out of mind. In Lisa Ko’s “Nightlife,” read by Vanessa Kai, a pair of friends quietly sidestep feelings that might complicate their relationship. A teacher tries to help a parent see who her child really is in “The Hole” by Patrick Cottrell, performed by Becca Blackwell. And Elizabeth Strout brings us a beautiful and devastating story of a woman grappling with whether to put her mother into institutional care in “Home,” performed by Mia Dillon. Strout talks with Wolitzer after the reading. All three works were commissioned for the Selected Shorts’ anthology, Small Odysseys.

  • Bonus: A Conversation with Elizabeth Strout

    04/04/2024 Duração: 10min

     Host Meg Wolitzer talks with author Elizabeth Strout about her story “Home” and the fictional family Strout has created.

  • Save the Date with Belletrist Book Club

    28/03/2024 Duração: 59min

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about social occasions for introverts and extroverts alike, curated with the Belletrist Book Club, founded by actor Emma Roberts and producer Karah Preiss. The show was recorded at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Humorist Samantha Irby asks “Please Invite Me to Your Party,” but does she mean it? The reader is Richa Moorjani. Victoria Lancelotta’s “The Anniversary Trip,” performed by Judy Greer, is, and is not, about the married couple making the trip. And Jen Spyra takes it to extremes to get to the altar in perfect shape in “The Bridal Body,” performed by Erinn Hayes.This is Selected Shorts' first collaboration with Belletrist. Since 2017, Belletrist has chosen over 75 books for the book club and dozens more for myriad content features across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and a newsletter: The Belletrist Brief. In 2019, Emma and Karah spun out Belletrist Book Club into a production company called Belletrist Productions.

  • Embracing Change

    21/03/2024 Duração: 57min

    On this episode of Selected Shorts, host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about change. A playful fantasy, a domestic dilemma, and a private struggle help us to adjust to the idea of transformation, losses, and gains.  In “Sea Monster,” by Seth Fried, performed by Natasha Rothwell, a husband and wife reveal their secret identities to each other.  In “Death by Printer,” by Mira Jacob, read by Rita Wolf, a widow learns to cope with loss—and technology.  And a mature woman embraces the self she is becoming in Maile Meloy’s “Period Piece,” performed by Kelli O’Hara.  The last two stories were commissioned for Selected Shorts’ anthology Small Odysseys. 

  • What’s Your Story?

    14/03/2024 Duração: 01h03min

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about the act of writing and how it can remake us--a prankish skit; a playful and tender investigation of creating with words; and a fraught social encounter between two characters who don’t ‘get’ each other’s stories.  B.J. Novak takes on the old saying “Great Writers Steal” in a short piece read by Novak and Aasif Mandvi.  In Etgar Keret’s “Creative Writing” a wife writes her way out of grief.  It’s read by Alex Karpovsky.  A dinner party becomes a scene of personal and political tension in Lorrie Moore’s “Foes,” performed by Joan Allen and Kyle MacLachlan.  And Moore joins Wolitzer to talk about the story and creating fiction.

  • Elements of Nature

    07/03/2024 Duração: 57min

    Host Meg Wolitzer presentsfour works in which nature and the out-of-doors drive both plots and character.  Humorist Jenny Allen does battle with her stubborn plants in “Garden Growing Pains,” read by Kirsten Vangsness.  The majestic Canadian border separates an Indigenous family in Thomas King’s “Borders,” read by Kimberly Guerrero.  A housewife masters one of the elements in “Flying,” by Alyce Miller.The reader is Kirsten Vangness again.And a sudden storm creates a sense of abandon in the Kate Chopin classic “The Storm,” read by Jane Curtin.“Garden Growing Pains,” “Borders,” and “Flying,” were presented in cooperation with CacheArts and Utah Public Radio, KUSU-FM.

  • Too Hot for Radio: Erin Somers "Variations on the Same"

    04/03/2024 Duração: 29min

    This story is by the writer Erin Somers. She has a novel, Stay Up with Hugo Best, and has been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker and elsewhere.  Performing it, we've got two actors who found the funny with both the words and each other. The first, Paget Brewster, is best known for her role on Criminal Minds. Additionally, she has appeared on Friends, Community and Comedy Central’s Another Period.  Playing off her is Andy Richter, known for his years on Conan and Late Night with Conan O'Brien; but has also appeared in cult classics like Cabin Boy and done many voiceovers for animated movies like Madagascar.  The episode is hosted by Aparna Nancherla. The story was recorded at SketchFest in San Francisco. 

  • Extended Families

    29/02/2024 Duração: 56min

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works with unusual family dynamics.  In Zadie Smith’s “Grand Union,” the mother-daughter bond transcends death and brings with it a whole family history.  The reader is Kaneza Schaal.  And Richard Bausch’s “What Feels Like the World,” read by James Naughton, explores the bond between a grandparent and a grandchild.

  • Selected Shorts Goes to the Movies with the Tribeca Film Festival

    22/02/2024 Duração: 58min

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents stories so compelling that they were adapted for the screen. Selected Shorts and the prestigious Tribeca Festival collaborated and came up with three works that crossed the boundaries between fiction and film. An eerie game has unexpected consequences in Richard Matheson’s “Button, Button,” performed by Marin Ireland. The story inspired the horror film “The Box” starring Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella.  Michael Stuhlbarg gives a rousing performance of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky;” and Andrea Martin reads the story that inspired the Hollywood classic All About Eve—Mary Orr’s “The Wisdom of Eve.”

  • Homewreckers

    15/02/2024 Duração: 58min

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents two humorous stories about marriages not made in heaven.  In James Thurber’s classic “The Breaking Up of the Winships,” a long-married couple fall out over Donald Duck. The reader is Kristine Nielsen. And in Louise Erdrich’s “The Big Cat,” read by Keir Dullea, two powerful wives, a bemused husband, and a symphony of bone-jarring snores.   The program also features an interview with Erdrich.

  • Meg Wolitzer interviews Louise Erdrich

    15/02/2024 Duração: 14min

    In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to author Louise Erdrich about her story; her writing life; and what do with left over index cards. 

  • Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Denis O’Hare

    08/02/2024 Duração: 16min

    In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to actor Denis O’Hare about his craft, and his approaches to readings of the two very different stories on this program.

  • Too Hot for Radio: James Hannaham "Cookie Monster Shares"

    08/01/2024 Duração: 18min

    "Cookie Monster Shares" was performed by actor and comedian Baron Vaughn at SketchFest in San Francisco, CA. The story was written by James Hannaham, the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author of sharp satires including Delicious Foods and Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta. (Which, an objectively great title that really paints a picture.) Hannaham's sharp satires take no prisoners—even in the seemingly innocuous context of a story narrated by the one and only Cookie Monster.  Episode host Aparna Nancherla talks to the author after the story. Too Hot For Radio is a bonus podcast from Selected Shorts featuring saucy and salacious tales that can't air on public radio.

  • Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Visits Her Favorite Indie Bookstore

    29/06/2023 Duração: 15min

    Host Meg Wolitzer visits a favorite indie bookstore, Three Lives & Company in Greenwich Village, remembers her early years there as a writer and reader, and is let in on some trade secrets.

  • Bonus: Margaret Atwood and A.M. Homes

    15/06/2023 Duração: 17min

    In this bonus conversation, writers Margaret Atwood and A.M. Homes discuss everything from feminism, time, writing and dystopian fiction, to Atwood’s new short story collection “Old Babes in the Wood.” The interview was recorded in front of a live audience at Symphony Space.

  • Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Alison Stewart

    08/06/2023 Duração: 09min

    In this bonus conversation, host and best-selling author, Meg Wolitzer, talks to host of WNYC’s All of It, Alison Stewart. Wolitzer reveals some of the secrets to great writing and the two share their own reading habits and thoughts about the importance of fiction.

  • Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Patricia Marx

    09/02/2023 Duração: 12min

    In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to friend and New Yorker humorist Patricia Marx about her story “Singin’ in the Acid Rain,” and writing funny. 

  • Meg Wolitzer Talks with George Saunders

    12/01/2023 Duração: 20min

    In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to friend and Booker Prize-winning author George Saunders about crafting short stories, where ideas come from, and how his work has evolved over the years. 

  • Bonus: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Elizabeth Strout

    08/09/2022 Duração: 10min

    In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to friend and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout about writing, short stories, and the use of recurring characters in her work.

  • Host Meg Wolitzer Talks to Comedian Michael Ian Black

    21/07/2022 Duração: 19min

    In this bonus conversation, host Meg Wolitzer talks to comedian and writer Michael Ian Black about what he’s been reading and the tricky business of being funny. Join and give!:

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