My Personal Anthology 

Every week, the writer Jonathan Gibbs invites someone to ‘dream-edit’ their own Personal Anthology of twelve short stories. Each instalment includes a few words about each story and details of where it’s available to read (including online, where applicable.

This week was my turn in the editor’s chair. I couldn’t bear to commit myself to a definitive list of ‘favourites’ (after all, I might choose a different dozen tomorrow). Instead, I’ve selected stories that left a deep impression on me at the time of reading (various points over the last 15 years). My list includes long-time friends of this blog; beloved authors; and newer discoveries.

A Personal Anthology is sent free to subscribers via on Friday afternoon (UK time). However, the entries are archived, and you can read mine here. I hope you don’t you find it interesting and will be intrigued to try some of the stories. You can subscribe to A Personal Anthology here – I warmly recommend it. 


  1. So very cool, David. I’ve never considered tracking my favourite individual short stories. I tend to be drawn to reading them as collections, ideally say 8-15 stories in a single author collection and, although I have highlights, I remember and react to the collection as a whole. If you asked me to pick a favourite out of Walser’s Berlin Stories or Joanna Walsh’s Vertigo, for example, it would be like having to chose your favourite child!

    • Thanks, Joe – I was very flattered that Jonathan invited me to contribute. I don’t normally think in terms of individual stories either, so it was an interesting challenge to come up with my list. Absolutely agree that some books of stories work artistically as a whole; I think that’s a fascinating area to explore.

  2. I’m immensely flattered to be included in your anthology — quite unjustified, but much appreciated all the same.

    Those of the other stories that I’ve read are very fine, though, so I’m itching to read the anthology as a whole, and will start clicking the online links as soon as I’ve finished typing this comment. Anything by Frank O’Connor is wonderful, so far as I’ve read him — primarily a fat Penguin Modern Classics collection that long predates the one you mention, but including also a few other chance encounters. I read the Kathrine Kressmann Taylor because I enjoyed the 1944 movie based on it so much, and was if anything blown away even farther by the story. I read the Lucy Wood collection thanks to your encouragement, and your selection was probably the story in it that I likewise liked the most — although the title story took some beating. And Nina Allan’s stories are generally knockouts, although this particular tale is one that I’ve yet to catch up on (I’m woefully behind on my f/sf reading these days).

    Anyway, I assume your phone lines are red-hot as publishers clamor for the rights in the anthology (and I’ll take it like a man when they insist on dropping the first selection), so I’ll not prattle on.

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