Daneet Steffens, journalist and National Short Story Day Coordinator, recommends…

(CLASSIC: from The Gift of the Magi and Other Short Stories, Dover)

‘The Gift of the Magi’ by O. Henry because it was the first short story that I remember reading, and I still remember how it made me gasp out loud at the end.

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(MODERN: from Island, Vintage)

My all-time favourite remains ‘The Boat’ by Alistair MacLeod – for the beauty of the writing, for its steady, deceptively quiet tone and for the immense, mesmerising power it holds over you as you read it. My current favourite is “Diary of An Interesting Year” by Helen Simpson for the sheer, spot-on, scary believability of this creepy, disturbing, dystopian future.

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