Podcast

LeVar Burton Reads

The best short fiction, handpicked by the world’s greatest storyteller. In every episode, host LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story. LeVar’s narration blends with gorgeous soundscapes to bring stories by Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury and more to life. So, if you’re ready, let’s take a deep breath...Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on...more

Episodes

  • LIVE! in Boston: "Mono No Aware" by Ken Liu

    Feb 12 2019

    A space traveler flashes back to memories of his childhood in Japan, before the world ended. Recorded live at the Wilbur Theatre with music provided by Katy Wherry and Jake Wherry. "Mono No Aware" appears in THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES. Ken Liu's new anthology, BROKEN STARS, is out this month.This episode is sponsored by Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR).

  • LIVE! in New Jersey: "Driftglass" by Samuel R. Delany

    Feb 05 2019

    As a new frontier is explored on the ocean floor, an amphiman is haunted by a deep sea accident from his youth. Recorded live at the Scottish Rite Auditorium with musical accompaniment by Kendrah Butler. "Driftglass" is contained in AYE, AND GOMORRAH AND OTHER STORIES, Vintage Books, 2003.

  • LIVE! in DC: "A Dark Night" by Edward P. Jones

    Jan 29 2019

    A stormy evening leads to a dark night of the soul. Recorded live at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. with musical accompaniment by Élise Cuffy. "A Dark Night" appears in Edward P. Jones' collection LOST IN THE CITY.

  • LIVE! in Dallas: "In the City of Martyrs" by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

    Jan 22 2019

    A fantasy tale about a royal family, a flower seller, and a shocking discovery. Recorded live at the Majestic Theatre with musical accompaniment by Zhenya Rock. This episode is sponsored by Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR).

  • LIVE! in Toronto: "Four Stations in His Circle" by Austin Clarke

    Jan 15 2019

    Language Advisory: This story contains adult language. An immigrant from Barbados strives to shake off his past, buy his dream house, and climb the ranks in Toronto. From the collection CHOOSING HIS COFFIN. Recorded live at the Hot Docs Podcast Festival, with musical accompaniment by Dieufaite Charles and conversation with Itah Sadu.

  • LIVE! in Atlanta: "The Vishakanya's Choice" by Roshani Chokshi

    Jan 08 2019

    After spending years in isolation with her vishakanya sisters, a poison maiden is given her first deadly mission. © 2015 Roshani Chokshi, as first appeared on BookSmugglers.com. Recorded live at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, with musical accompaniment by Anand Vyas.

  • LIVE! in Austin: "Asymmetry" by Kendra Fortmeyer

    Dec 18 2018

    While suffering through a breakup, a woman encounters a strange figure. Recorded live in Austin at the Paramount Theatre, with musical accompaniment by Peter Tran of Curved Light.

  • LIVE! in Brooklyn: "Playing Nice with God's Bowling Ball" by N.K. Jemisin

    Dec 11 2018

    In this fantastical police procedural, detectives are perplexed when a young boy confesses to a murder. "Playing Nice with God's Bowling Ball" was originally published in the August 2008 issue of Jim Baen’s Universe. N. K. Jemisin's new collection is HOW LONG 'TIL BLACK FUTURE MONTH?This episode is sponsored by Mythology podcast (www.parcast.com/MYTHOLOGY).

  • 36: "Morning Child" by Gardner Dozois

    Oct 09 2018

    Two people reconnect in a post-apocalyptic world. © 1984 by Gardner Dozois. Originally published in OMNI. Used by permission of the author’s Estate and the Estate’s agents, the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc.This episode is sponsored by Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), Sierra Club (www.BeyondCoal.org/stories), The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR), and Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR).

  • 35: "Yiwu" by Lavie Tidhar

    Oct 02 2018

    For a humble shopkeeper in Yiwu, it’s a living, selling lottery tickets. Until a winning ticket opens up mysteries he’d never imagined.This episode is sponsored by Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR), and Sierra Club (www.beyondcoal.org/stories).

  • 34: "Singing on a Star" by Ellen Klages

    Sep 25 2018

    A kindergartner travels through a portal to a fantastic and eerie new world. This story appears in Ellen's collection WICKED WONDERS.This episode is sponsored by Sierra Club (www.beyondcoal.org/stories), Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR), and The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LeVar).

  • 33: "The Cell Phones" by Karen E. Bender

    Sep 18 2018

    A Rosh Hashanah service is interrupted by voices clamoring for attention. This story appears in the forthcoming collection THE NEW ORDER.This episode is sponsored by Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LeVar), and the Sierra Club (www.beyondcoal.org/stories).

  • 32: "Jackalope Wives" by Ursula Vernon

    Sep 11 2018

    A brooding young man is captivated by a magical creature who dances in the firelight. This story appears in JACKALOPE WIVES AND OTHER STORIES by T. Kingfisher.This episode is sponsored by Sierra Club (www.beyondcoal.org/stories), Bona Floor Cleaners (www.bona.com), Calm (www.calm.com/LEVAR), and The Great American Read.

  • 31: "Fyrewall" by Stefani Cox

    Sep 04 2018

    In a future version of Los Angeles, a woman and her ragtag crew must repair a critical piece of technology or let the city burn to the ground.This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/levar) and The Great American Read.

  • 30: "Fantaisie Impromptu No. 4 in C#min, Op. 66” by Carlos Hernandez

    Aug 28 2018

    A reporter travels to Miami to investigate the fringes of science and faith. This story appears in THE ASSIMILATED CUBAN'S GUIDE TO QUANTUM SANTERIA.This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses (www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/LEVAR) and Google Play (g.co/play/levar).

  • 29: "Multo" by Samuel Marzioli

    Aug 21 2018

    A man remembers a supernatural force from his childhood. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code 'LEVAR'.This episode is sponsored by Google Play (www.g.co/play/levar).

  • 28: "Fires" by Rick Bass

    Aug 14 2018

    In this meditative tale, a runner spends a summer training in a remote mountain town. This story appears in the collection FOR A LITTLE WHILE by Rick Bass, published by Little, Brown & Company.  Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code 'LEVAR'.This episode is sponsored by Google Play (g.co/play/levar).

  • 27: "The Last Cheng Beng Gift" by Jaymee Goh

    Aug 07 2018

    A family matriarch takes up residence in the Underworld. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code 'LEVAR'.This episode is sponsored by Google Play (g.co/play/levar) and Hungryroot (www.hungryroot.com code: LEVAR).

  • 26: "Sea Girls" by Daniel Wallace

    Jul 31 2018

    Two teenagers deal with family issues... and a stranded sea creature.Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code 'LEVAR'.This episode is sponsored by Hungry Root (www.hungryroot.com code: LEVAR) and Google Play (g.co/play/levar).

  • 25: "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience TM" by Rebecca Roanhorse

    Jul 24 2018

    A tour guide leads virtual reality “experiences” for tourists who want to know what it’s like to be Native American. Think Black Mirror meets Westworld. Listen to ad-free episodes one week early, plus exclusive bonus episodes, only on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of listening, go to stitcherpremium.com/levar and use promo code 'LEVAR'.This episode is sponsored by Google Play (g.co/play/levar).

  • LIVE! in Portland: "The Fliers of Gy" by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Jun 19 2018

    An interplanetary tale about those who take flight, and those who do not. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. This story appears in Le Guin's collection THE UNREAL AND THE REAL: SELECTED STORIES, VOLUME TWO: OUTER SPACE, INNER LANDS. With musical accompaniment by Marisa Anderson, and featuring a conversation with writer and activist Walidah Imarisha about social justice and the legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin. This episode is brought to you by KiwiCo (www.kiwico.com/LEVAR) and Hungryroot ...more

  • LIVE! in Seattle: "Black Betty" by Nisi Shawl

    Jun 05 2018

    The story of Betty, and her struggle to be fully understood by her new family. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by Gretchen Yanover, and featuring a conversation with author Nisi Shawl.This episode is brought to you by KiwiCo (www.kiwico.com/LEVAR) and Hungryroot (www.hungryroot.com code: LEVAR).

  • LIVE! in Los Angeles: "Money Tree" by Nalo Hopkinson

    May 22 2018

    A young man sets out to uncover sunken treasure and make his fortune, and his sister must pick up the pieces. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by vibraphonist Justin Thomas, and featuring a conversation with the author. This story appears in Nalo Hopkinson's collection SKIN FOLK.

  • LIVE! in San Francisco: "As Good as New" by Charlie Jane Anders

    May 08 2018

     A young woman unexpectedly finds herself with the fate of the world in her hands. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by Astronauts, etc. keyboardist Anthony Ferraro, and featuring a conversation with Charlie Jane Anders. This story appears in Anders' collection SIX MONTHS, THREE DAYS, FIVE OTHERS.

  • LIVE! in Chicago: "The Winds of Harmattan" by Nnedi Okorafor

    Apr 24 2018

    A young woman discovers her destiny as a Windseeker. Recorded on the LeVar Burton Reads LIVE! tour. With accompaniment by the legendary instrumentalist and kalimba player Kahil El'Zabar, and featuring a conversation with Nnedi Okorafor. This story appears in Okorafor's collection KABU KABU.

  • 24: "Childfinder" by Octavia Butler

    Apr 03 2018

    A telepath uses her skills to mentor children with psionic ability. "Childfinder" is available in e-book format in the collection UNEXPECTED STORIES, published by Open Road Media. The story is copyright Ernestine Walker-Zadnick. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar. And thanks to Fictional. Find them at apple.fictional.fm.

  • 23: "A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets" by Kevin Brockmeier

    Mar 27 2018

    An ordinary man finds himself unexpectedly in possession of an extraordinary power. This story appears in Kevin Brockmeier's collection THE VIEW FROM THE SEVENTH LAYER. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 22: "The 5:22" by George Harrar

    Mar 20 2018

    When a fellow passenger on his usual train goes missing, a man begins to wonder if everything is as it seems. Find more from the author at www.georgeharrarbooks.com. This episode is brought to you by Audible (audible.com/levar) and Tripping.com (www.tripping.com/LEVAR).

  • 21: "My Dear You" by Rachel Khong

    Mar 13 2018

    As she filters through memories and relationships, a young woman navigates a new plane of existence. Find more from the author at www.rachelkhong.com. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 20: "The Great Wide World Over There" by Ray Bradbury

    Mar 06 2018

    A visitor's arrival delivers both wonder and heartache to a rural community. This story appears in Ray Bradbury's collection THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 19: "Different Kinds of Darkness" by David Langford

    Feb 27 2018

    A group of children form a secret society around a mysterious and powerful artifact. This story appears in David Langford's collection DIFFERENT KINDS OF DARKNESS. This episode is brought to you by Audible (audible.com/levar) and Tripping.com (www.tripping.com/LEVAR).

  • 18: "Furry Night" by Joan Aiken

    Feb 20 2018

     An elderly lycanthropist retires to his estate in the English countryside, but his rest is disturbed by a rowdy village tradition. "Furry Night" is copyright © 1976 by Joan Aiken. Available in THE PEOPLE IN THE CASTLE by Joan Aiken, published by Small Beer Press. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 17: "The Baboon War" by Nnedi Okorafor

    Feb 13 2018

    A group of schoolgirls have a disturbing and life-altering encounter with the animal kingdom. "The Baboon War" appears in Nnedi Okorafor's collection KABU KABU. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 16: "Mrs. Perez" by Oscar Casares

    Feb 06 2018

    When a burglary deprives her of her most prized possession, a woman discovers just how resilient and assertive she can be. "Mrs. Perez" appears in Oscar Casares' collection BROWNSVILLE: STORIES from Back Bay Books. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 15: "Unassigned Territory" by Stephanie Powell Watts

    Jan 30 2018

    A young Jehovah's Witness spends a blistering hot afternoon preaching door-to-door to hostile homeowners, and questioning her future. Copyright © 2011 by Stephanie Powell Watts, used by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 14: "The Truth About Owls" by Amal El-Mohtar

    Jan 23 2018

    A young girl explores her own power, and finds kinship with a bird of prey. Find more from the author at amalelmohtar.com. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 13: "Repairing the World" by John Chu

    Jan 16 2018

    Description: Two friends are tasked with protecting a world that is literally ripping at the seams. Find more from John Chu at johnchu.net. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • Bonus Episode: "Goat" by James McBride

    Oct 24 2017

    A well-meaning teacher discovers a student's talent, and in the process of helping out his family, bites off more than she can chew. Recorded live at the Now Hear This festival. This story appears in James McBride's collection FIVE CARAT SOUL, available now from Riverhead Books. 

  • 12: "No Man's Guns" by Elmore Leonard

    Sep 05 2017

    In a classic Western tale, a newly-discharged soldier runs into trouble on his journey home, and must fight for his innocence and his identity. "No Man's Guns" by Elmore Leonard. Copyright © 1975, 2004 Elmore Leonard, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC and of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 11: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu

    Aug 29 2017

    An immigrant mother tries to bond with her American-born son by creating a magical paper menagerie. This story appears in Ken Liu's collection THE PAPER MENAGERIE AND OTHER STORIES, available now from Saga Press. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 10: "Navigators" by Mike Meginnis

    Aug 22 2017

    A father and son become immersed in a video game with a unusual philosophical goal -- one that's unlike any game they've played before. "Navigators" appears in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2012. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 9: "1000-Year-Old Ghosts" by Laura Chow Reeve

    Aug 15 2017

     A grandmother teaches her family to deal with difficult memories in a unique way -- by pickling them in jars. "1000-Year-Old Ghosts" appears in the new anthology PEN AMERICA BEST DEBUT SHORT STORIES 2017. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • Bonus Episode: A Conversation with Lesley Nneka Arimah

    Aug 08 2017

    Today, a special bonus episode featuring a wide-ranging conversation between LeVar and Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of "What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky". Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 8: "The Second Bakery Attack" by Haruki Murakami

    Aug 01 2017

    Cursed with an unbearable hunger, a newlywed couple goes to drastic measures to break its spell. "The Second Bakery Attack" appears in Haruki Murakami's collection THE ELEPHANT VANISHES from Vintage Books, and is available as an audiobook from Penguin Random House Audio. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 7: "Chivalry" by Neil Gaiman

    Jul 25 2017

    An elderly widow purchases the Holy Grail at a second-hand store, and becomes wrapped up in an epic quest. "Chivalry" appears in Neil Gaiman's collection SMOKE AND MIRRORS: SHORT FICTIONS AND ILLUSIONS from William Morrow, which is available on Audible. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 6: "Graham Greene" by Percival Everett

    Jul 18 2017

    A man is contacted by a 102-year-old woman with an unusual and seemingly impossible request. "Graham Greene" appears in Percival Everett's collection HALF AN INCH OF WATER, available from Graywolf Press.Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 5: "What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky" by Lesley Nneka Arimah

    Jul 11 2017

    A mathematician has discovered a formula that explains the universe and makes it possible to manipulate human bodies and emotions. "What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky" is the title story of Lesley Nneka Arimah's collection from Riverhead Books. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 4: "Empty Places" Part Two by Richard Parks

    Jul 04 2017

    In the conclusion to our story, Jayn risks death when he infiltrates the queen’s chambers, and discovers the real reason for his mission. "Empty Places" was collected in FANTASY: THE BEST OF THE YEAR (2005). Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 3: "Empty Places" Part One by Richard Parks

    Jun 27 2017

    An accomplished thief is approached by a wizard who wants to send him on an unusual mission. The two embark on a journey together, matching wits along the way. "Empty Places" was collected in FANTASY: THE BEST OF THE YEAR (2005). Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 2: "The Lighthouse Keeper" by Daisy Johnson

    Jun 20 2017

    The story of a solitary life by the sea, and a woman’s courage. "The Lighthouse Keeper" is part of FEN: STORIES, available from Graywolf Press. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar.

  • 1: "Kin" by Bruce McAllister

    Jun 13 2017

    A young boy contacts an alien assassin in the hopes of saving his sister’s life. "Kin" is part of Bruce McAllister's collection THE GIRL WHO LOVED ANIMALS. Thanks to our presenting sponsor Audible. Start your free trial and get a free audiobook at audible.com/levar

  • Introducing… LeVar Burton Reads

    Jun 02 2017

    A sneak peek of “LeVar Burton Reads,” coming June 13th!