Selected Shorts: Tales that Surprise

Amy Hempel's “Jesus is Waiting” & Daniela Maristany's “Swimmers" read by Mary Stuart Masterson; Sean Tan's “No Other Country” read by Campbell Scott; Edna O'Brien's “Number 10” read by Marian Seldes.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

On the road. On the road. (SFAntti)

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.


Mary Stuart Masterson, Campbell Scott and Marian Seldes

Hosted by:

Isaiah Sheffer

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

Comments [5]


I listened to "Jesus is Waiting" and for some reason I missed both the surprise and the point. Stylistically, this is well-crafted, but I did not understand the ending or what the supposed twist was. Perhaps I missed something critical. Can anyone explain or interpret?

Oct. 08 2011 03:49 PM

From the producers:

Here are some more detailed instructions about how to access the SELECTED SHORTS podcast. Please note also, if you prefer to listen to the local broadcast, the show repeats on FM 93.9 at 10pm on Saturdays and can be streamed during the broadcast.

Unfortunately, copyright restrictions prevent us from archiving or streaming these programs, but they are available for a limited time as podcasts on iTunes,; and at See the icon in the upper right hand corner, under "About Selected Shorts" to subscribe to the podcast for this program and selected past episodes.

May. 30 2011 11:11 AM

From the producers:

Unfortunately, copyright restrictions prevent us from streaming or archiving these programs, but they are available for a limited time as podcasts on iTunes,; and at And some individual stories have been made available on cassettes or CD anthologies; please see our website, for information about these.
However, all the details about the authors and readers can be found on the individual program pages, and more information on where the stories featured on SELECTED SHORTS are available in print can be found at,

May. 30 2011 11:06 AM
dorothy Freeman

I too would like to know why I can no longer listen to Selected Shorts from the archives. My first problem is I can't access WNYC AM from home and second, the broadcast time is not convenient for me. Now I'm totally out of the loop. I'm devastated!

May. 22 2011 05:03 PM
mary leckie-gould from warwick, ny WNYC

Please, why is that Selected shorts is not available for listening from the archives? I used to listen.
Thanks. ML-G

May. 16 2011 05:06 PM

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