Stella Duffy, novelist and playwright, recommends…

(CLASSIC: from Selected Stories, OUP)

There are so many Mansfield stories that fit my ‘favourite ever’ title, but Miss Brill just about edges out the others with its astonishing economy, elegance of characterisation, and the heart-cracking final line. Anyone wishing to see how varied and inventive the short story can be would be well advised to read Mansfield’s collected works.

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(MODERN: from The Myth of Iphis, Canongate Myths).

This is either a very long short story or a novella, either way it’s brilliant. Smith is one of the few writers in Britain today truly playing with the form, truly taking chances with her work, and in Girl Meets Boy every risk, every chance, pays off perfectly. I still remember where I was when I read this, it’s stayed with me so very clearly, even four years later. It’s great.

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