To begin with, a confession. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really got seriously into short stories. Sure, I’d read plenty and liked a lot – Carver, Chekhov, Flannery O’Connor, Faulkner, Baldwin, to name a few obvious ones – but I never really sought them out, and if you’d given me a choice between a short story set and a long novel, I’d have taken the novel every time. But with the advent of parenthood and the brain-sapping, time-draining craziness that came with it, I found that it was sometimes easier to dip into shorts as a way of keeping engaged with reading even when my brain didn’t have the capacity for dealing with anything too long or complex. 
Around the same time, I tapped into the independent publishing scene and realised there were lots of great new writers who were doing fresh and interesting things with the form, and it opened up a lot of doors for me. As a result there a quite a few contemporary writers in this selection, although there are some older favourites as well, and hopefully a couple of curveballs too, just to mix it up a bit. 
I’ll stick the same caveat here as everyone else – this isn’t a definitive list of my twelve favourite stories or anything like that, and there are pieces from stacks of other collections (Dark Neighbourhood, by Vanessa OnwuemeziNordic Fauna by Andrea Lundgren and Variations by Juliet Jacques being three glaring recent examples) I would have loved to have included but couldn’t. This is simply a list of great stuff that I thought was worth shouting about, without wanting to go for anything too obvious that the majority of readers would already know. Anyway, onward…….

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