Selected Shorts: Tales that Surprise

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This program features four contemporary tales with unexpected plot twists and emotional surprises.

The heroine of Amy Hempel’s road trip tale, “Jesus is Waiting,” seems to be driving away from something, driving towards something, or just plain driving, on America’s Interstate highways and turnpikes.

Hempel is the winner of the 2008 Rea Award for the Short Story, and is currently a faculty member in the graduate writing programs of Bennington College in Vermont and The New School University in New York City. Her works include: "The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel" and "The Dog of the Marriage: Stories."

“Jesus is Waiting” is read by Mary Stuart Masterson, who made her film debut at the age of seven in “The Stepford Wives,” and whose other credits include “Fried Green Tomatoes” and a recurring role on “Law and Order: SUV.” 

Shaun Tan, the author of our second story, “No Other Country,” began drawing and painting images for science fiction and horror stories in small press magazines as a teenager, and has since become known for his illustrated books and his acclaimed wordless novel, "The Arrival." This provocative short short gives us a glimpse of a world within a world, and is read by Campbell Scott.

Each year SELECTED SHORTS sponsors the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Writing Contest (details are on the SELECTED SHORTS Web site). The 2009 winner, “Swimmers,” was written by Daniela Maristany, who then a junior at Yale University. Her prize-winning entry — an affecting moment in the life of an extended family — is read by Mary Stuart Masterson.

Our final story is a haunting and utterly surprising work by master story writer, Edna O’Brien. In  “Number 10,” a husband and wife sleepwalk, or dream-travel, to a very special address, and find out things about one another that they are unable to express directly. The reader is the incomparable Marian Seldes. 

The musical interlude in this program is “Preludio”, by Victor Villadingos from the album Guitar Music of Argentina. The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please click here.

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit the SELECTED SHORTS Web site.