Nicholas Royle, novelist, short story writer, editor and lecturer, recommends…

(CLASSIC: from Selected Stories, Penguin)

My ‘classic’ might not be acknowledged as such by many, or even any, other fans of the short story. I’ve gone for ‘Murder’ by William Sansom. A prolific short story writer, Sansom was an individual stylist and his stories were as likely to appear in Penguin New Writing as in The Pan Books of Horror Stories. I love ‘Murder’ because almost nothing happens in it and yet it’s completely gripping. It appeared in Sansom’s 1952 collection A Touch of the Sun.

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(MODERN: from When the Door Closed, It Was Dark, Nightjar).

Among the new stories that have impressed me the most during the last few years is a story that I published in my Nightjar Press series of chapbooks and then reprinted in The Best British Short Stories 2011. It’s ‘When the Door Closed, It Was Dark’ by Alison Moore. I beg the reader’s indulgence in including it here, but it is a phenomenally clever and affecting story, one that you immediately want to reread the moment you have read it. I regard it as a masterpiece, an object lesson in short story writing.

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