All Modern Conveniences

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Neighbors and other strangers in four diverse tales.

We’ll begin with Krista MacGruder’s “Not Quite Home Alone,” in which a solitary woman is surprised by an intruder—and a sense of grace.    The reader is Jacqueline Kim.

In the second story, by the film-maker and performance artist Miranda July, “The Shared Patio,” a woman takes her right to share a patio with her neighbors to extremes.    The reader, at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, is the wacky comic star of the television series “Criminal Minds,” Kirsten Vangsness.

Our theme of threatening and bizarre situations that can come upon you at home is continues with Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Sphinx,” in which a hypochondriac beholds a monster in Poe’s “The Sphinx.”  The part of the nervous narrator is performed by Kathleen Widdoes.

In this program’s final story the novelist and story-writer Richard Ford tries his hand at a popular theme—observing the neighbors unobserved.  In this case, a failing novelist becomes briefly obsessed by an unknown woman at the window opposite.  Ford’s “Privacy,” is read by Rene Auberjonois.

“Not Quite Home Alone,” by Krista McGruder,  read by Jacqueline Kim

“The Shared Patio,” by Miranda July, read by Kirsten Vangsness

“The Sphinx,” by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Kathleen Widdoes

“Privacy,” by Richard Ford read by René Auberjonois

The musical interlude is Symphony No. 1,” by Ned Rorem.  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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 Announcing the 2011 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize.  This year's theme is stories set in restaurants and bars.  The judge is the author Jennifer Egan and the deadline is March 1, 2011.