There are a lot of great literary podcasts out there. Here, we’ve selected a few of our favorite episodes, all available for free. These stories (and, in one case, an essay) are perfect to listen to while you’re working out, cooking dinner, riding on the bus, or just relaxing on a summer afternoon. We like to return to them, again and again, for a little inspiration.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. In this Valentine’s Day episode of This American Life from ’98, Richard Bausch reads his story “Letter to the Lady of the House” (Act One). This incredible story, in the form of a letter, examines the history of a marriage. It gets us every time.
David Sedaris reads Miranda July’s story “Roy Spivey,” and discusses it with New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman. Sedaris is the perfect reader for July’s humorous and sad story, about a woman who sits next to a celebrity on an airplane, and the way that this experience carries through the rest of the woman’s life.
Writing is a solitary act, and it’s nice to hear from other writers, from time to time, about their experience. Even Joy Williams has her own frustrations with writing, but we think you will find this reading of hers strangely inspiring. Take a fifteen-minute break to listen to Joy Williams read her essay “Why I Write,” recorded live at the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop in 2010.
This is sort of a long one, but it’s definitely worth it to hear Ramona Ausubel and Claire Vaye Watkins read their fiction and talk about putting together their first short story collections in this recording of a reading at BookCourt in Brooklyn.