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.


  • What’s Left Behind

    09/09/2021 Duration: 59min

    Guest host Meg Wolitzer presents three diverse stories that look at what gets left behind when life changes, gradually or suddenly.  Restless retirees try on the ultimate next step in Greg Ames’  funny “Funeral Platter,” performed by Michael McKean and Annette O’Toole.  The family in Julia Alvarez’s “Liberty” are on their way to a new life in America, but it’s difficult leaving the old one behind.  The reader is Laura Gomez.  And a trainer of guide dogs for the blind learns how to let go, in Amy Hempel’s “The Dog of the Marriage,” performed by Joan Allen.   Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Riverhead at 25

    02/09/2021 Duration: 58min

    Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents works that reflect on the diversity and excellence of Riverhead Books, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018.    The program features “Flower Hunters,” by Lauren Groff, performed by Maria Dizzia, and “Buck Boy,” by James McBride, performed by Teagle Bougere, as well as special commissions from Aja Gabel (“Alarm”) and R.O. Kwon (“Tempo”) both performed by Hettienne Park.    Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Personal Politics

    26/08/2021 Duration: 58min

    Guest host Baron Vaughn presents three works where the personal and the political collide.  In “Parent Night at Confidence Academy,” by Kiley Reid, a teacher lets parents know what she really sees in their kids.  The reader is Juliana Canfield.  Two kingdoms have created ideal societies, as long as you don’t mind a little restraint, in this playful fable by Berlin Alexanderplatz author Alfred Doblin, read by Kate Burton.  And local politics gets ugly (even the dog is involved) in Peter Orner’s “Shouting Wenkie,” performed by Liev Schreiber.   Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Out of Control

    19/08/2021 Duration: 58min

    Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents three works about losing control.  In Dmitry Biriukov’s “Hello?” a crowded city bus inspires one passenger to create a romantic scenario.  The reader is Mike Doyle.  Jenny Allen offers up a disastrous crafts project in “How to Tie-Dye,” reader by Jane Curtin.  And Anton Chekhov gives us a clueless young man beset by determined women in “From the Diary of a Hot-Tempered Man,” read by Sam Underwood. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Punching In

    12/08/2021 Duration: 01h03min

    Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents three stories about workers and the workplace—and "the daily grind."  In a John Cheever classic, “Bayonne,” a busy waitress defends her territory.  The reader is Mary Kay Place.  The always succinct Lydia Davis gives us “Alvin the Typesetter,” in which a bohemian artist battles job conformity.  The late David Rakoff performs.   And in “OBF, Inc." by Bernice L. McFadden, an interviewee at a hip start-up learns about a secret organization that sells cultural capital.  It’s performed by Teagle F. Bougere. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Too Hot for Radio: Stephen Tobolowsky "Listen to the Dog"

    09/08/2021 Duration: 31min

    Writer and character actor Stephen Tobolowsky reads his own story about a Thanksgiving dinner that takes a most unexpected turn. Later he talks to host Aparna Nancherla about his work in TV, movies, and his podcast, The Tobolowsky Files. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Words Without Borders

    05/08/2021 Duration: 57min

    Guest host Kate Burton presents three stories in translation selected with the international literary organization Words Without Borders. A wealthy woman winds up on the other side of the poverty line in Évelyne Trouillot’s “Detour,” performed by Rita Wolf and Arian Moayed.  A civil servant becomes a soccer star in Réka Mán-Várhegyi’s "Woman Striker Has Killer Left Foot,” performed by Adina Verson. And two teenage misfits visit a chimp in “Muzaffer and Bananas” by Yalçın Tosun, performed by Arian Moayed. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • It Takes Two

    29/07/2021 Duration: 01h01min

    Guest host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about profound and unexpected connections between people—territory she herself covers a lot as a writer. Old enemies meet in Lauren Groff’s “Once,” performed by Cynthia Nixon. Old friends come together and wonder what might have been in Rachel Khong’s “Slow and Steady,” performed by Hettienne Park. And an artistic collaboration takes a bizarre turn in Elizabeth Crane’s “Something Shiny,” performed by Kate Walsh. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Facts and Legends

    22/07/2021 Duration: 57min

    Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories where facts, beliefs, and fabrications coincide. Essayist Samantha Irby debunks nature, fresh air, and sunshine in “The Case for Remaining Indoors,” performed by Retta. Rebecca Makkai shares tattered facts about a terrorist in “Everything We Know About the Bomber,” performed by John Cameron Mitchell. And Michael McKean brings a difficult father to life in Walter Kirn’s “The Hoaxer.” Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • True Confessions

    15/07/2021 Duration: 01h00s

    Guest host Baron Vaughn presents three stories in which people “’fess up.” The title gives it away in “As a 28-Year-Old Latino, I’m Shocked My New Novel, Memoirs of a Middle-Aged White Lady, Has Been So Poorly Received” by Carlos Greaves. In the Heights’ Anthony Ramos performs. A family secret is revealed in “1,000-Year-Old Ghosts” by Laura Chow Reeve, performed by Jennifer Lim. And Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne reveals a caustic wit—and his knowledge of book collecting—in “The Rise and Fall of Mortimer Scrivens,” saucily performed by Michael Cerveris, Jane Curtin, Peter Francis James, James Naughton, and Rita Wolf. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Too Hot For Radio: Jess Walter "Helpless Little Things"

    09/06/2021 Duration: 44min

    From the best-selling author Beautiful Ruins, an edgy, suspenseful story about a drug-dealing Portland con artist voiced by actor Denis O'Hare who seems to have the perfect scam going... until it all goes wrong. Jess Walter talks to host Aparna Nancherla about where he gets his inspiration from, reading his reviews, and how he handles the dreaded writer's block. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Too Hot For Radio: Tiphanie Yanique "The Special World"

    19/04/2021 Duration: 46min

    A gorgeous story read by actor Hampton Fluker (The Blind Side, Patriots Day, and Shades of Blue) about race, leaving home, and the dramas of young life. After the reading, host Aparna Nancherla talks with the delightful author Tiphanie Yanique about, well, just about everything. Join and give!: See for privacy information.

  • Only Human: Anton Chekhov

    05/11/2020 Duration: 58min

    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.  Join and give!: See for privacy information.