Celebrated two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward joins us virtually to introduce an evening of diverse and poignant stories by Jamil Jan Kochai, Yxta Maya Murray, and Kevin Wilson, curated from her selections for the most anticipated short story collection of the year, published by Mariner Books. Hosted by series editor Heidi Pitlor. With performances by Mike Doyle (New Amsterdam), Leo Solomon (Veep), and Tanis Parenteau (Billions).
Note: Jesmyn Ward will be introducing the stories virtually and not on stage in person.
Symphony Space is committed to the health and safety of its artists, staff, and audience. Books will be available for purchase, but there will not be a book signing at this event.
The Artists (in alphabetical order)
Mike Doyle has appeared on screen in New Amsterdam, City on a Hill, The Romanoffs, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Accidental Wolf, Narcos: Mexico, Jersey Boys, The Invitation, and Green Lantern, among others. His stage credits include The New Century at Lincoln Center and Betrayed with the Culture Project. Doyle wrote and directed the feature film Almost Love starring Kate Walsh, Patricia Clarkson, and Scott Evans. He is currently working on his next film, Passing Through.
Jamil Jan Kochai is the author of 99 Nights in Logar, which was a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. He was born in an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, but he originally hails from Logar, Afghanistan. His short stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Ploughshares, and The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018. Currently he is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Yxta Maya Murray is a writer and law professor living in Los Angeles. Her novels include The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Kidnapped, The King’s Gold: An Old World Novel of Adventure, and The Queen Jade: A Novel, and others. She has won a Whiting Award and an Art Writers Grant, and she has been a finalist for the ASME Award in Fiction. Her art criticism can be found in Artforum, ARTnews, Artillery, and other periodicals.
Tanis Parenteau’s numerous stage credits include The Winter’s Tale and Powwow Highway at Here Arts Center, Glenburn 12 WP and Miss Lead at 59E59 Theaters, Smoke with the Signature Theater, Sacagawea: Bird Woman at Urban Stages, The Way They Live with The Civilians at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Material Witness at La MaMa, Stand-Off at HWY #37 with Up Next and Labyrinth Theater, Manahatta with the Public Studio at The Public Theater and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Sliver of a Full Moon at New York University, Harvard, Yale, and the White House’s United State of Women Summit. She has appeared on film, television, and webseries in Billions, FBI: Most Wanted, Gossip Girl, Designated Survivor, House of Cards, Rehab, Blood Lineage, and A Big Black Space. Parenteau has an MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama.
Heidi Pitlor is a former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and has been the series editor for The Best American Short Stories since 2007. She is the author of the novels The Birthdays and The Daylight Marriage.
Leo Solomon has a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York, and a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He is of Afghan descent, plays classical piano, contributes and volunteers with various humanitarian organizations, and also speaks Farsi, Hindi, Spanish and French. His credits include recurring as a guest star on Veep and Homeland, and guest starring on Blue Bloods, NCIS, and Lie to Me, among others. He has also been the lead in numerous films, one of which landed him "Best Breakthrough Performance" at the Monaco Film Festival. Upcoming projects include the short film Mater Mortis and a feature called Dickie K.
Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the 2017 National Book Award. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008 to 2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010–2011 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award.
Kevin Wilson is the author of two story collections and three novels, including The Family Fang, Perfect Little World, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, and most recently, Nothing to See Here. His stories have appeared in Ploughshares, A Public Space, The Southern Review, Subtropics, and elsewhere. Wilson teaches at the University of the South.
Selected Shorts is produced by Symphony Space and broadcast on more than 150 stations around the country. The series began in 1985 and enjoys sold-out performances to this day. Selected Shorts was conceived with a simple premise: take great stories by well-known and emerging writers and have them performed by terrific actors of stage and screen. Featuring stories around a lively theme, the favorite works of a guest author, or a special collaboration, each Selected Shorts event is a unique night of literature in performance.
Recent readers include Ellen Burstyn, Kate Walsh, Bebe Neuwirth, Claire Danes, Michael Shannon, Kyle Maclachlan, LeVar Burton, Jane Curtin, Danielle Brooks, Cynthia Nixon, Rainn Wilson, Holly Hunter, Hugh Dancy, Joan Allen, Josh Radnor, Tony Shalhoub, Maggie Gyllenhaal, BD Wong and more.
Actors subject to change. Casting and special guests will be announced on our website so check for up-to-date information.
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre
Expected Run Time is 105 minutes