Guest host Michael Cerveris presents four stories inspired by other books and authors. Immigrants collide at Wal-Mart in Juan Martinez's “Best Worst American,” read by Cristin Milioti. An old friendship is strained in Namwali Serpell 's "Double Men," read by Nikki M. James. Seth Fried re-imagines Kafka's "Metamorphosis"; the reader is Jennifer Mudge. And Dino Buzzati visits "Kafka's Houses" on trip to Prague. The reader is Tony Roberts.
First, immigrants collide at Wal-Mart in Juan Martinez's “Best Worst American.” Martinez’s work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Glimmer Train, McSweeney's, TriQuarterly, Conjunctions, Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Stories Inspired by Iconic Vegas Photographs. His story collection “Best Worst American” was published in February 2017. He teaches literature at Northwestern University.
Reader Cristin Milioti has appeared on Broadway in "That Face," "Stunning," and "Once,” for which she was nominated for a Tony and won a Grammy Award. On television she has had a featured roles in "How I Met Your Mother,” “The Mindy Project,” and “Fargo.” Her film work includes "The Wolf of Wall Street,” “It Had to Be You,” and “Breakable You.”
An old friendship is strained in Namwali Serpell 's "Double Men." Serpell teaches in the English department of UC Berkeley. Her fiction has been featured in McSweeney's, The Believer, Bidoun, Callaloo, Tin House, and n+1 among other organs. Her story “Muzungu,” was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009, and her story “The Sack” won the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her novel The Old Drift will be published this month.
Reader Nikki M. James won a Tony Award for her work on "The Book of Mormon" and also appeared on Broadway in "Les Misérables." On television she's appeared on "Law & Order SVU," "The Good Wife," “Instinct,” and “The Good Fight,” among other shows. Stage work includes “Julius Caesar” and “Twelfth Night” with the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.
Franz Kafka is the source of the last two stories on this program. First, humorist Seth Fried re-imagines Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"--with a much happier outcome for poor Gregor! Reader Jennifer Mudge appeared on Broadway in "The Philanthropist." Other theatre credits include "The Dutchman," and "The Geometry of Fire." On television she's appeared on "Law & Order," "Boss," and "The Big C" among other shows.
In our final work the late Italian futurist Dino Buzzati visits "Kafka's Houses" on trip to Prague. He couldn’t help himself--he was always being compared to Kafka, and wondered what the fuss was all about.
The reader is another SELECTED SHORTS and Broadway stalwart, Tony Roberts, whose many stage credits include "Barefoot in the Park;" "Promises, Promises;" "The Sisters Rosensweig;" "They're Playing Our Song;" "Victor/Victoria;" "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife;" and "Cabaret."