Introduction

I’m not sure what a short story is. I’m not at all sure about the ‘story’ bit. I suppose I’m more sure about the ‘short’ bit, though this can vary: shorter than a ‘novel’, I guess, and shorter than a ’novella’ (and I’m not so sure about these either), sometimes as short as a sentence. I would have liked to have included Gertrude Stein if Identity: a Poem were a short story; I would have liked to have included Anakana Schofield if Martin John were a collection of short stories; I would have liked to have included Anne Boyer if A Handbook of Disappointed Fate were a collection of short stories, but I’ll stick to things that have called themselves short stories, or have been published that way. I’m hesitant to make a list of ‘greats’, there are just stories that have been important to me at one time or another. This list is in no way either a lesson or a warning.

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