These are mostly stories I first read years ago, though they have been part of me for so long, that I can hardly remember when. The short story has always been the most alchemic of mysteries to me. The blank page is never quite as scary as when I try and find the way into a story. A novel you can plot your directions, a poem you can chose your location, but a short story is almost directionless, but when done well, is like that moment of epiphany when you find yourself in a place you’ve never been but instantly recognise. These twelve stories have helped show me the way.