Selected Shorts: Child's Play

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The stories on this program, hosted by Wyatt Cenac, feature two exceptional children and a nervous parent.   

“Solomon’s Big Day,” by performance artist Toure, follows a child prodigy as he tries to paint a masterpiece and escape pretentious adults.   Toure is the host of “Hiphop Shop” and “On the Record” (on the Fuse TV channel) and co-host of “The Cycle” on MSNBC. He teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  His published works include The Portable Promised Land: Stories, Soul City: A Novel, and the essay collection Never Drank the Kool-Aid

Reader Daniel Alexander Jones is also a performance artist, and playwright.  He is the head of the playwriting program at Fordham University.

In our second story, “Lars Farf, Excessively Fearful Father and Husband,” George Saunders imagines a father who goes to extremes to protect his family—from absolutely everything, including life itself.  Among Saunders many honors are a MacArthur “Genius Grant” and inclusion in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list.   His most recent collection is Tenth of December.  “Lars Farf, Excessively Fearful Father and Husband,” is read by Tony Award-winner James Naughton.

Our final story, “Charles,” is an uncharacteristically light-hearted tale by horror maven Shirley Jackson (“The Lottery,” The Haunting of Hill House).  In it, a precocious kindergartener horrifies his parents all right, but it’s with tales of the class delinquent.  “Charles,” is read by Lois Smith, whose many film, television and theatre credits include performances in “Twister,” “True Blood,” and “The Trip to Bountiful.”

Solomon’s Big Day,” by Toure, performed by Daniel Alexander Jones

“Lars Farf, Excessively Fearful Father and Husband,” by George Saunders, performed by James Naughton

“Charles,” by Shirley Jackson, performed by Lois Smith

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at