Professor's story to air on NPR's 'Selected Shorts'

National Public Radio will broadcast a short story written by Leigh Allison Wilson of SUNY Oswego’s English and creative writing department as an installment of the popular national “Selected Shorts” program.

Symphony Space, which produces “Selected Shorts,” recorded an actor reading Wilson’s story “Bullhead” in connection with the opening of the International Center of Photography’s “Ectopia” exhibition in New York City. The director of literacy programs for Symphony Space wanted to include the short story after seeing it in the W.W. Norton anthology “Flash Forward Fiction: 80 Very Short Stories,” Wilson said.

“It’s a short piece about the long-term consequences—at least to one family—of a TVA dam built in Tennessee that resulted in the flooding of an entire town,” Wilson said. “People lost their homes, their schools, their graveyards and, in the case of one woman, the love of her life.”

Because of its subject matter, Symphony Space thought the story dovetailed with “Ectopia,” which concerns photographs of “imprints humanity has left on the natural world, in good ways and in horrendous ways, the marks we’ve made on this planet that are beautiful as well as astonishingly ugly,” Wilson noted.

In the case of the TVA dams, Wilson recalled growing up with new lakes that bespoke natural beauty, but at the expense of an unnatural manipulation that stole land, possessions and memories from her mother’s generation.

Wilson said she has yet to learn when the story will air during the 2006-07 season of “Selected Shorts.” Authors with work read for the fall season include Ray Bradbury, John Updike, Edith Wharton, Philip K. Dick and award-winning SUNY Oswego alumna Alice McDermott.

“Selected Shorts” can be heard at 2 p.m. Sundays and 9 p.m. Mondays on the campus-based WRVO Stations, including 89.9 FM in Oswego and online at

“It’s exciting to consider the sheer number of people who will now hear the story over NPR,” Wilson said. “And it seems to me that in some small—maybe very small—way, the story will be bringing back, however briefly, some of that lost proof of memory.”

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(Posted: Nov 15, 2006)