It has been called “one of the finest evenings at the theater” by David Sedaris. Selected Shorts, which began 30 years ago as a performance/reading series on stage at Symphony Space in New York, was conceived with a simple premise: Take great stories by well-known and emerging writers and have them performed by terrific actors. Tapping into people’s love of being read to, the series was an instant hit. And Friday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. Selected Shorts is back at the Avram Theater at Stony Brook Southampton for an evening of funny, moving, romantic and surreal tales filled with unexpected twists and turns.
Actors Betty Buckley, Blythe Danner, Richard Kind, and Maulik Pancholy will perform short stories by authors featured over the years in TSR: The Southampton Review, the literary and art journal celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, published by the MFA in Creative Writing program at the Stony Brook Southampton.
Yes, you read that correctly, one of the East End’s favorite publications (besides Dan’s Papers, of course) is 10 years old. “These past 10 years have been extraordinary,” TSR Editor-in-Chief Lou Ann Walker says. “Works in TSR have won so many prizes and a number of our contributors have gone on to include the works first published in TSR in new books of their own. We look for work that is innovative and diverse in this still vital medium.”
The newest issue offers page after page of thought provoking and inspiring work, including the winners of the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize, Suzy Vitello, whose piece “Delivering,” tells the story of the death of her husband and the birth of her baby, in the same week; and Sarah Cadorette.
Short fiction includes stories from literary heavyweights Meg Wolitzer (“Deep Lie the Woods”) and Julia Alvarez (“Coup”) alongside recent MFA graduates, current MFA candidates and other writers all in different stages of their careers. There’s also poetry from Billy Collins, Michael Collier, Carl Phillips, Hilma Wolitzer, Natalie De Paz, Miranda Beeson and more. And memoir, too, from Kaylie Jones and Antonio Romani, who writes about his experience as an immigrant in the U.S.
Also included in this issue is a special section titled #WriteOurDemocracy with a piece by Quogue resident Roger Rosenblatt, and works by Eve Ensler, Siri Hustvedt, Péter Zilahy and Jamie Manrique, all of which were read on the steps of the NY Public Library at the flagship PEN Writers Resist rally in January. “The fact that the arts are under attack makes it that much more important for thoughtful people to support literary and arts journals such as TSR,” Walker says.
Then there are the art portfolios, which include tintypes of Native Americans photographed by Will Wilson, work by Sag Harbor’s Donald Sultan, and a series of extraordinarily rendered charcoal drawings by Clio Newton. Cartoonist Grant Snider also contributed three spreads.
Artist Bob Tabor, whose “Horse Whisperings” archival digital images are included in the issue, will be on exhibit in the Avram Gallery adjacent to the Avram Theater during the Selected Shorts evening and on Monday afternoons in July and the first two weeks of August when Pianofest master class concerts are presented in the theater.
Longtime East Ender and this issues guest fiction editor Ursula Hegi says, “Authenticity of language lies at the core of this issue of TSR.”
Tickets for Selected Shorts are $30 for adults or $15 for students. They are available at thesouthamptonreview.com. For information, call 631-632-5027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.