The Best American Short Stories annual anthology has been celebrating the greats of contemporary literature for more than 100 years. Join us for an evening of performances by Purva Bedi (She's Gotta Have It), Hope Davis (Your Honor), and Hampton Fluker (Shades of Blue), from the highly anticipated collection, including works by authors Elizabeth McCracken, Tiphanie Yanique, and Sarah Thankam Mathews. Hosted by guest editor and New York Times-bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld (Rodham: A Novel).
An excerpt from The Special World by Tiphanie Yanique
Performed by Hampton Fluker
It's Not You by Elizabeth McCracken
Performed by Hope Davis
Rubberdust by Sarah Thankam Mathews
Performed by Purva Bedi
The Best American Short Stories 2020, and other books by tonight's featured authors can be purchased from our friends at Strand here. Use code SYMPHONYSPACE to receive 10% off your purchase.
|This event is available to view with the Symphony Space 20-21 Season Pass.|
To Learn About the Artists
THE ARTISTS (in alphabetical order)
Purva Bedi is an actress and playwright. She is the co-creator of the comedy series Shrinkage, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Her extensive theater credits include Dance Nation, for which she was honored with a 2019 Drama Desk Award, Wives at Playwrights Horizons, Passage with Soho Rep, India Pale Ale at the Manhattan Theater Club, An Ordinary Muslim with New York Theatre Workshop, and many more. Bedi is an Associate Artist of Target Margin Theater and member of the Actors Center Workshop Company. Her film and television appearances include roles on Billions, High Maintenance, She's Gotta Have It Too, Madam Secretary, Nurse Jackie, The Blacklist, The Assistant, The Surrogate, Sully, American.ish, Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, and American Desi. Upcoming projects include writing two plays in development, Gorgeous Nothings with Dorset Theatre Festival and Dolly's Dream Bimari.
Hope Davis has appeared in the films About Schmidt; American Splendor; Synecdoche, New York; Captain America: Civil War; and Rebel in the Rye, among others. On television, Davis’s credits include In Treatment, The Newsroom, The Special Relationship, Allegiance, American Crime, Wayward Pines, with recent recurring roles in the series For the People, Strange Angel, and Love Life. Her theater credits include Ivanov, Two Shakespearean Actors, Spinning Into Butter, Food Chain, Measure for Measure, God of Carnage, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award, and The Red Barn. She will appear in the forthcoming miniseries Your Honor.
Hampton Fluker starred as Marcus Tufo on NBC’s Shades of Blue, opposite Jennifer Lopez. Additional television credits include Chicago Med, Major Crimes, Prodigal Son, Bull, The Code, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Aquarius, and Whitney directed by Angela Bassett. He has been seen in the films Instant Family, Patriots Day, The Blind Side, No One Asked Me, and The Depths. On stage, Fluker starred opposite Annette Bening and Tracy Letts in the Broadway Revival of All My Sons, earning a Drama Desk Nomination and Theatre World’s Dorothy Loudon Award. He also starred in Too Heavy for Your Pocket with the Roundabout Theatre Company and Esai’s Table at the Cherry Lane Theatre.
Sarah Thankam Mathews grew up in India and Oman, immigrating to the United States at seventeen. She was recently a Rona Jaffe Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently a Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, BuzzFeed Reader, AGNI, The Juggernaut, and Platypus Press, among other publications. She is also the founder of the BedStuyStrong mutual aid network. Her debut novel is forthcoming.
Elizabeth McCracken is the author of the short story collections Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry and Thunderstruck, winner of the Story Prize, and the novels The Giant’s House, a National Book Award finalist; Niagara Falls All Over Again, winner of the PEN New England Award; An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination; and Bowlaway. She has received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. McCracken currently holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas, Austin, and her seventh book, the short story collection The Souvenir Museum, is forthcoming in 2021.
Heidi Pitlor is the author of the novels The Birthdays, The Daylight Marriage, which was optioned for film, and Impersonation. A former senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007. She is also the editorial director of the literary studio Plympton. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, LitHub, Ploughshares, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere.
Curtis Sittenfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, Eligible, and the story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington PostMagazine, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories, of which she was the 2020 guest editor. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and Vanity Fair, and on public radio’s This American Life. Sittenfeld’s latest work, Rodham: A Novel, was published in May 2020.
Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the short story collection How to Escape from a Leper Colony, the novel Land of Love and Longing, and most recently the poetry collection Wife, winner of the Bocas Prize and the Forward/Felix Dennis Prize. Her work has been recognized with honors including a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright scholarship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a listing on the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Best African American Fiction, The Wall Street Journal, and American Short Fiction, among other publications. Yanique currently teaches at Emory University.
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind. Past guest editors include Louise Erdrich, Stephen King, Roxane Gay, Salman Rushdie, Walter Mosley, Lorrie Moore, and man others.
This evening’s stories are collected in The Best American Short Stories 2020, edited by Curtis Sittenfeld, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“The Special World” by Tiphanie Yanique, from The Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020). First appeared in The Georgia Review (Winter 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Tiphanie Yanique. Used by permission of the author.
“It’s Not You” by Elizabeth McCracken, from The Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020). First appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story (Fall 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth McCracken. Used by permission of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency.
“Rubberdust” by Sarah Thankham Mathews, from The Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020). First appeared in Kenyon Review Online (January/February 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Sarah Thankham Mathews. Used by permission of the author.
Selected Shorts is produced by Symphony Space and broadcast on more than 150 stations around the country. The Selected Shorts podcast consistently ranks as one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes. 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.
Selected Shorts is supported by the Dungannon Foundation, sponsor of The Rea Award for the Short Story. Support is also provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, The Shubert Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, The Scherman Foundation, the Henry Nias Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, and the Lemberg Foundation. Selected Shorts is also made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Symphony Space thanks our generous supporters, including our Board of Directors, Producers Circle, and members, who make our programs possible with their annual support.