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An arresting collection of contemporary fiction at its best, these stories explore a vast range of subjects, from love and deception to war and the insidious power of class distinctions. However clearly spoken, in voices sophisticated, cunning, or na•ve, here is fiction that consistently defies our expectations. Selected from thousands of stories in hundreds of literary magazines, the twenty prize-winning stories are accompanied by essays from each of the three eminent jurors on which stories they judged the best, and observations from all twenty prizewinners on what inspired them.