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Selected Shorts

About Selected Shorts

A group of actors in front of the Symphony Space backdrop.

Selected Shorts is produced live on stage at Symphony Space in New York City and is a weekly public radio show and podcast hosted by novelist Meg Wolitzer.

It is produced by Symphony Space.

Over thirty-five years ago, Selected Shorts was born on the stage at Symphony Space and quickly became one of the best known shows of its kind spawning a popular public radio show, podcast, audio collections, and national tours. The series was conceived with a simple premise: take great stories by well-known and emerging writers and have them brought to life by terrific actors of stage and screen. Whether 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.

The public radio show and popular podcast is recorded live from performances at the Peter Sharp Theater at Symphony Space in New York, as well as around the US on tours. Selected Shorts began in 1985 and still enjoys sell-out audiences today during its season on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As one of the premiere reading series in New York City, the show attracts some of the biggest names in entertainment.

There is a theme to each Selected Shorts episode and performance. Several stories are presented around each theme. The stories are almost always fiction, sometimes classic, sometimes new, always performed by great actors from stage, screen and television. Evenings are often co-hosted by writers, literary producers, and other interesting characters.

Recent readers include Ellen Burstyn, Kathleen Turner, Edie Falco, Claire Danes, Michael Shannon, Tony Shalhoub, Michael C. Hall, Paul Giamatti, Jane Curtin, Zachary Quinto, Anika Noni Rose, Bebe Neuwirth, Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Tony Hale, Josh Radnor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, BD Wong, and many more.

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

On Stage

Spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen. Whether we present stories around a lively theme, the favorite works of a guest author or a special collaboration with a museum or publication, each Selected Shorts event is a unique night of literature in performance. Selected Shorts appears at Symphony Space in New York City. Our season runs from October through June.


On Air

The Selected Shorts radio show and podcast are hosted by the bestselling author of The Wife, The Interestings, and The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer.

'Selected Shorts can be heard on public radio stations across the country. We mostly air on the weekend, but times differ from station to station.


You can subscribe to the free weekly podcast and have episodes automatically download to your computer. Episodes are available for exactly one week, beginning the Monday after broadcast. Podcast content is the same as the radio broadcast. Podcasts run approximately 1 hour.



Occasionally we decide that several stories should be grouped together under an entirely new theme. You’ll recognize some stories, but sometimes we have fantastic performances that didn’t make it to radio (usually because we had to bleep too many words) and we still want to share the bleeping love, so we’ve reassembled our picks as MP3 Downloads. They make great gifts, by the way (hint, hint).

You can also find Single Story Downloads… after years of requests, you really can select your shorts. No need to buy the whole cow just to drink a glass of milk (or something like that). Single story downloads are available only through our Selected Shorts Shop. We are adding new stories all the time, so check back to see if your favorite is available. Better yet, let us know what you’d like and we’ll get working on it.

Radio & Podcast Schedule

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