Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents stories, essays, and poems, and speeches celebrating America’s diversity and wealth of stories. An aging father ponders his life in Elizabeth Strout’s “The Walk,” read by Ellen Burstyn. The whole country’s talking in Susan Minot’s “Listen,” read by Jennifer Ikeda and Khris Lewin. Julia Alvarez faces prejudice and finds her voice in “Speak! Speak!” read by Selenis Leyva, and Henry Louis Gates intros works by 19th-century African-American women writers from his anthology.
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents two stories featuring man's best friend. In "Pie Dance," by Molly Giles, a divorcee balances a complicated family menage with the help of her dancing dog. Nixon read this story as part of Radio Love Fest, a production of WNYC and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, at BAM's Harvey Theater. Then in Maile Meloy's touching tale, "Madame Lazarus" an elegant, aging Frenchman is no longer certain of his younger lover, but has complete faith in the love and loyalty of his self-willed terrier Cordelia. Reader Rene Auberjonois read this story at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents a tribute to the classic TV series, “The Twilight Zone,” including two stories that were featured on the show: Price Day’s “Four O’Clock,” read by Zachary Quinto, in which a man with awesome powers knows just how to improve the world. And “Perchance to Dream,” by Charles Beaumont, in which the lines between sleeping and waking blur. It’s read by Zach Grenier. Roald Dahl’s “The Landlady,” is the perfect hostess, thinks the unwary young man who comes to her door. It’s read by Sam Underwood.