If I’d put this collection together a few years ago, I’d probably have included my favourite short stories or the ‘best’ I’d encountered, but such ideas seem increasingly redundant as you get older. The choices below are not necessarily the finest of each writer. They are, largely, not the kind of short story that is like a perfect self-contained little Fabergé egg, gold-plated and meticulously clockwork. Some of them are barely stories at all. They interest me because of their peculiarity or because they tell us something about a particular aspect of writing or they offer a path less trodden. I hope you find something worthwhile in them.