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.


  • Trust Your Senses

    Trust Your Senses

    28/11/2019 Duración: 01h41s

    Guest host Michael Cerveris presents stories in which trusting your senses is important. In Jeanne Dixon’s “Blue Waltz with Coyotes,” a rebellious farm girl flirts with danger. It’s read by Mia Dillon. And Aimee Bender creates a fairytale for our time in “The Color Master,” whose crafts is creating clothes that mirror nature. Denis O’Hare is the reader.

  • Too Hot For Radio: Katherine Heiny Cranberry Relish

    Too Hot For Radio: Katherine Heiny "Cranberry Relish"

    25/11/2019 Duración: 32min

    Just in time for the holidays, a story that will speak to any of us who sometimes can't shake the feeling that the grass is always greener. In a story that is at once utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. This story comes from her collection called Single, Carefree, Mellow. Heiny’s work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and she recently published a novel called Standard Deviation. To read this story is an actor we simply couldn’t do without at Selected Shorts. Jane Kaczmarek has performed in everything from Long Day’s Journey Into Night to Malcolm in the Middle. After her reading, Jane talks with host Aparna Nancherla. This story was performed as part of our show at the annual SF Sketchfest.

  • Family Matters

    Family Matters

    21/11/2019 Duración: 59min

    Guest host Hope Davis presents stories about family ties. A mixed-race college student has a comic encounter in "My Brother at the Canadian Border," by Sholeh Wolpe, read by Maulik Pancholy. Marriage is really for better or worse in Lauren Schenkman's "A Guide to Fooling Yourself,” read by Kaneza Schaal. A young man meets his boozy dad in "Reunion," by John Cheever, read by Bruce Altman. And Viet Thanh Nguyen tells a heartbreaking and mystical tale of Vietnamese immigrants in "Black-Eyed Women," read by Jennifer Ikeda.

  • Motherhood with Celeste Ng  Mary Karr

    Motherhood with Celeste Ng & Mary Karr

    14/11/2019 Duración: 58min

    On this show, guest host Kate Burton introduces two stories that look at the joys and complexity of motherhood. They were chosen by the novelist Celeste Ng and memoirist and essayist Mary Karr. In “Looking for a Thief,” by Danielle Lazarin, a suburban mother questions her choices. The story is performed by Heather Burns. And Burton reads Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing,” in which another mother wonders if she’s done right by a challenging first child.

  • Reality Checks

    Reality Checks

    07/11/2019 Duración: 59min

    Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories about expectation, hope and disenchantment. A navy wife isn't charmed by the Riviera, until a chance encounter changes everything, in Richard Yates' “Evening on the Côte d’Azur," read by Edie Falco. And a video parlor run by a lonely widower is the source of solace and catastrophe in an early George Saunders story. Josh Radnor reads “Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz.” 

  • An Evening with LeVar Burton

    An Evening with LeVar Burton

    31/10/2019 Duración: 59min

    Guest host LeVar Burton presents two of his favorite stories. In Lucia Berlin’s “Friends,” the characters have different ideas about who benefits from their weekly lunches. The reader is Lydia Gaston. Next, Burton himself reads Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s powerful “Control Negro,” in which an academic and father tries a real-world experiment to prove a theory about racism.  

  • Too Hot For Radio: Patrick Dacey To Feel Again The Kind of Love That Hurts Something Terrible

    Too Hot For Radio: Patrick Dacey "To Feel Again The Kind of Love That Hurts Something Terrible"

    28/10/2019 Duración: 40min

    The title of today’s story is a mouthful - “To Feel Again the Kind of Love That Hurts Something Terrible” - but trust us, you'll devour every word. It's by the writer Patrick Dacey, author of the novel, The Outer Cape, and a story collection, We’ve Already Gone This Far, and he’s a favorite of George Saunders, which is how he came to our attention. When we sent this story to one of our favorite readers, John Cameron Mitchell, he got back to us with the note "Wow, you really know how to pick them." Most people know John as the creator and star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the recent musical podcast, Anthem: Homunculus. He’s also wowed his fair share of Selected Shorts audiences. He certainly did just that to the audience at San Francisco's Sketchfest when he performed this earlier in 2019.

  • Hauntings for Halloween

    Hauntings for Halloween

    24/10/2019 Duración: 01h01min

    Guest host Kate Burton presents some unusual chillers for Halloween. Edgar Allan Poe is haunted by a childhood memory in Russell Banks’ “The Caul,” performed by Richard Masur. Poe’s eerie “The Raven” is performed by Rene Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer, and Harris Yulin. A dying emperor tries to communicate in “An Imperial Message,” by Franz Kafka, performed by Kaneza Schaal. And Agatha Christie tells a ghost story in “The Lamp,” performed by Rita Wolf. 

  • It All Depends on How You Look at It

    It All Depends on How You Look at It

    17/10/2019 Duración: 58min

    Guest host Sonia Manzano presents two stories about identity, appearance, and longing. In Elizabeth Crane’s “Blue Girl,” a young woman learns how to embrace difference. The reader is Valorie Curry. “Different” is certainly how you’d describe the folktale character Rumplestiltskin, but in Michael Cunningham’s remix, that doesn’t keep him from wanting a normal life. Zach Grenier reads “Little Man.”

  • Celebrating James Baldwin

    Celebrating James Baldwin

    10/10/2019 Duración: 59min

    Guest host LeVar Burton presents a program celebrating the author he calls “potent and polemical.” Christopher Jackson reads an excerpt from Baldwin’s famous letter The Fire Next Time: in “My Dungeon Shook,” he addresses internalized racism. Next, Anthony Rapp performs an excerpt from Giovanni's Room, in which an ex-pat comes to terms with his sexuality and loneliness in Paris. And Baldwin contemplates The Great Migration in his novel Go Tell It On The Mountain. We hear an excerpt performed by Charlayne Woodard.