“LeVar Burton Reads” Spotlights New Short Story by Karen Bender

Karen Bender

The podcast hosted by the star of Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow is presenting a new short story penned by Hollins’ Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing.

“The Cell Phones” by Karen Bender, which will appear in her forthcoming collection, The New Order, is the focus of the latest episode of “LeVar Burton Reads,” which “invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story.” Launched in 2017, the podcast has previously featured stories by such acclaimed authors as Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, Octavia Butler, and Ray Bradbury. Each work of short fiction read on the podcast is handpicked by Burton.

Earning selection for “LeVar Burton Reads” is just the latest accolade for Bender. Her short story collection, Refund, was a Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize; it was also a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Another of her books, Like Normal People, was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, a Los Angeles Times bestseller, and part of the Barnes and Noble Discover program. Her stories have appeared in magazines including The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, Guernica, and The Harvard Review, have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories and Best American Short Stories, and won two Pushcart prizes.

Bender joined the Hollins faculty in 2015. She has also taught creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Warren Wilson College, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Chatham University, Antioch University Los Angeles, and Tunghai University in Taiwan.