Selected Shorts: Island Magic

by Hannah

I’ve been on the road, and have fallen behind on my Selected Shorts posts. But wanted to make sure everyone had the chance to listen in to this great program that ran recently, with two amazing stories: “Vaclav & Lena” by Haley Tanner (read by Sarah Steele) and “Swept Away” by T.C. Boyle (read by Rene Auberjonois). Both stories involve islands and magic. Tanner’s “Vaclav & Lena” (recently picked as one of NBA’s  “5 under 35″)  is set on Coney Island, and follows two young friends learning English and training for their first magic show. Boyle’s “Swept Away” travels to the Scottish Isle of Unst, where the wind is so strong it blows cats, cars and young lovers over the edge.  You can listen to these wonderful stories over at WNYC, or by podcast or by scrolling down here on the Selected Shorts website. I also had the chance to do extended interviews with both authors, which you can listen to below. This is my favorite part of doing Selected Shorts–getting the chance to talk with inspiring writers about their process, in depth.

Haley Tanner, on Coney Island, magic tricks, and how she turned this story into her award-winning novel, Vaclav & Lena:

T.C. Boyle, on Scottish accents, the isle of Unst, the importance of being read to, and his new novel, San Miguel: