Old Friends, Old Memories

In one story, self-knowledge and self esteem are hard won in a new land, and in the other the precarious and enduring nature of memory is explored.”…’Ah, now I understand,’ he said. ‘You are ashamed, is it? Yes, that’s it, Judge Sahib…You feel humiliated. But there is no need for that. These mistakes happen to all of us when we are new to the country.’
--Rishi Reddi, “Justice Shiva Ram Murthy”

”Every story is true, and a lie.”
--Leigh Allison Wilson, “Bullhead”

In one story, self-knowledge and self esteem are hard won in a new land, and in the other the precarious and enduring nature of memory is explored.

From SELECTED SHORTS’ annual program celebrating the authors chosen for The Best American Short Stories anthology published by Houghton Mifflin comes an incisive, tender and humorous tale of personal dignity and an old friendship put to the test. “Justice Shiva Ram Murthy” was written by Rishi Reddi, who was born in Hyderabad, India, and grew up in both England and the United States. She graduated from Swarthmore College and Northeastern University School of Law, and practiced law for ten years before turning full time to writing. Her short stories have appeared in Harvard Review, Louisville Review and Prairie Schooner, and her English translation of Telugu short fiction has appeared in Partisan Review. In addition to being f featured in Best American Short Stories 2005, her work received an honorable mention in Pushcart Prize 2004. Her debut story collection, Karma and Other Stories, was published by ecco/ HarperCollins in April 2007. She now lives in Massachusetts. For more information about Reddi’s work, visit her website at www.rishireddi.net.

“Justice Shiva Ram Murthy” was read by Aasif Mandvi, who received an Obie Award for his critically acclaimed one-man show Sakina's Restaurant. On Broadway Mandvi appeared in the 2002 revival of Oklahoma! directed by Trevor Nunn. Other theatre credits include Homebody/Kabul by Tony Kushner and Stoppard’s On the Razzle. In film Mandvi played the title role in Merchant Ivory’s The Mystic Masseur and had a featured role in Spiderman II. Television credits include The Sopranos,Sex and the City, andCSI.

Our program concludes with Leigh Allison Wilson’s brief but evocative “Bullhead,” a dreamlike recollection of past love and its impact on love in the present. Wilson was born in East Tennessee, graduated from Williams College and received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop where she won the James Michener Fellowship. Her first collection of stories, From the Bottom Up, was the winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction. Her second book, Wind was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in Harper's, Grand Street, and The Southern Review. Wilson currently lives in Oswego, New York, where she teaches at the State University of New York. “Bullhead” was read by the multifaceted Dawn Akemi Saito, whose biography identifies her as an “actress/performance artist, writer, and Butoh dancer/choreographer.” Her multidisciplinary works include Blood Cherries, premiered at Dance Theater Workshop, and A Face of Our Own, a music/Butoh piece in collaboration with composer Myra Melford. On stage, Saito has acted in The Road Home, Hedda Gabler, and The Kitchen God's Wife at The American Place Theater, among other roles.

“Justice Shiva Ram Murthy,” by Rishi Reddi read by Aasif Mandvi “Bullhead,” by Leigh Allison Wilson, read by Dawn Akemi Saito For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit Symphony Space