From Kate Chopin’s turn-of-the-century Lousiana, to Gertrude Stein’s war-time Paris, to Alice Walker’s modern-day America, here are twenty-six short stories by the finest women writers of the twentieth century. These well-known and well-loved authors people their stories with vibrant female characters, from all over the world and all walks of life. Separately, each of these stories bears the mark of a skilled writer. Together, they celebrate woman in her many roles—as daughter, mother, worker, wife, lover, sister, and friend. In Tillie Olsen’s classic, “I Stand Here Ironing,” a single mother considers her success in raising a daughter. In Eudora Welty’s “The Worn Path,” an African-American grandmother meets with grace the impudence of a young, white man. In Alice Munro’s “The Office,” a wife who has too many distractions to write at home rents a room in town, only to be constantly interrupted by her landlord. Superbly written, and at once poignant and ironic, these insightful stories capture the essence of being a woman—in all its similarity, and all its diversity.