Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works featuring birds, curated by writer and bird aficionado Amy Tan. Ben Loory’s “The Frog and the Bird,” is a twist the traditional fable genre; it’s performed by Mike Doyle. Teenagers are transformed in “Town of Birds,” by Heather Monley, performed by Yetide Badaki; and an avian love song goes viral in Mikkel Rosengaard’s “The Mating Call,” performed by BD Wong. Tan comments on the program’s theme and the stories.
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works that contemplate a way out—of our lives, and even of this world. In Joe Meno’s “Books You Read,” performed by Joan Allen, a young boy helps his jaded teacher to love reading again. J. Robert Lennon takes us into deep space and a conversation between a computer and a survivor in “Escape Pod W41,” performed by Stephen Lang. And marriage, and a friendship, are tested in Jac Jemc’s “Infidelity,” performed by Kathleen Chalfant. All three stories were commissioned for SELECTED SHORTS’ anthology Small Odysseys.
Wear and Tear
Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works that offer unusual perspectives on clothes and fashion—selling, making, and coveting. In Anne Enright’s “(She Owns) Everything,” read by Mary-Louise Parker, a saleswoman becomes a compulsive consumer; In “Clothes on the Ground: A Conversation with Leap,” we hear from a Cambodian garment worker, interviewed by Julia Wallace for the compendium Women in Clothes, edited by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton. Leap is voiced by Jennifer Lim. And shopping is an antidote to aging in Joanne Harris’s “Faith and Hope Go Shopping,” read by Lois Smith.
Out of Sight
Host Meg 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: Meg Wolitzer Talks to Elizabeth Strout
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.