Twice this week, I spent my evenings at Symphony Space, soaking in culture at some great literary events. On Monday, I was lucky enough to see Emma Donoghue for the second time—rather than doing a reading, this time she was discussing the fabulous Room with Michael Cunningham. Then on Wednesday, Jim and I went to the Selected Shorts program’s evening with Colum McCann, who I’ve also had the privilege of seeing before. If you feel about Let the Great World Spin and McCann’s work in general as we do, you’ll be happy to hear that the series is actually recorded for radio broadcast, so you can listen to it here. On this particular night, Colum McCann hosted Amy Ryan reading his story “Everything in This Country Must” (from the collection of the same name that first introduced me to one of my favorite writers!), Mary-Louise Parker reading “(She Owns) Every Thing” by Anne Enright, and Michael Cerveris reading Nathan Englander’s “Free Fruit for War Widows.” It was a phenomenal performance all around, and I think I’ll be attending far more of these events in the future. As Jim said, Mary-Louise Parker should read everything.
Tucked into the program I found a flyer for the Selected Shorts Writing Contest, which I thought might be right for some of you. The 2011 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize with guest judge Jennifer Egan will result in a $1000 prize for the winner, whose story will be read as part of a Selected Shorts performance and recorded for possible broadcast. Plus Jennifer Egan saying you’re worthy is no small thing in itself. The deadline is March 1st, and you can read the rules here. Anyone planning to submit? If so, good luck!