Introduction

As a child, I was drawn to stories, especially to the voice of a good storyteller and to the rhythm of a well-crafted story. I was captivated by all sorts of stories—be it by my Nigerian father who preached from a pulpit on Sundays, knowing how best to sprinkle his sermons with engaging anecdotes, or my English grandmother who told her grandchildren dramatic World War II stories at bedtime. Listening to those around me inspires me as a writer, and often fragments of an overheard story form the basis of one of my own short stories. When I write, I’m constantly reading my stories aloud, listening closely for how they sound. It is because the sound of a story is so important that I’ve included in this list a story from film and music. A few years ago, when I had the unique opportunity of meeting and interviewing one of my favorite writers, Toni Morrison, I was thrilled to hear her say: “I like the act of reading my works because I measure their value in terms of how they sound.” This is how I think about writing, too. Morrison was the master storyteller and a wonderful reader of her own work. Here are twelve of my favourite short stories that I particularly loved hearing read aloud and enjoy revisiting.

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