writers The Best Short Story Writers of All Time

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List Rules Vote based on only each writer's short fiction, no other work

List of the best short story writers of all time. From Voltaire to George Saunders, a complete list of the greatest short story authors who have written works in English or whose works have been translated into English. Usually, short fiction features a small cast of characters and is focused on one incident or anecdote and one overall mood. Complex stories with sweeping timelines and superfluous characters are not often written in the short story medium, because there is simply not enough time to develop more than one or two cohesive thoughts. The best short story writers think that writing short-fiction is a completely separate art form than writing a novel, but some would argue that writing short stories is great practice for writing a full length work of fiction. 

Because of the constraints of page length, great short story writers have to use language that is descriptive and quickly sets the scene or develops their characters. Hemingway is notoriously good at short, pithy stories. One of his most famous is the world's shortest short story: “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” Very short stories are also known as flash-fiction.

Like Hemingway, the best short story authors can paint a picture with their words in a short amount of time. If you like books but don't have time to read novels, reading short stories could be a great option for you. Many of the best novelists of all time  have also written good short stories. Often, this type of fiction is sold in short story collections or anthologies. Use this list to discover new authors of short-fiction and vote on your favorites.

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Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka Prague, Czech Republic - The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, Description of a Struggle, The Village Schoolmaster

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+ - 709 203
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe Boston, Massachusetts United States of America - The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat

3
+ - 319 105
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Oscar Wilde Dublin, Republic of Ireland - The Nightingale and the Rose, The Happy Prince, A House of Pomegranates

4
+ - 711 139
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Taganrog, Russia - The Lady with the Dog, The Bet, The Darling, Vanka, The Death of a Clerk, The Duel, A Boring Story

5
+ - 393 113
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Mark Twain Florida, Missouri United States of America - The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The War Prayer, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, Eve's Diary

6
+ - 551 161
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway Oak Park, Illinois United States of America - The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Capital of the World, Indian Camp, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

7
+ - 320 124
O. Henry is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
O. Henry Greensboro, North Carolina United States of America - The Gift of the Magi, The Ransom of Red Chief, After Twenty Years, A Retrieved Reformation

8
+ - 463 87
Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Jorge Luis Borges Buenos Aires, Argentina - The Library of Babel, The Other, The Circular Ruins, The Garden of Forking Paths

9
+ - 286 83
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
William Faulkner New Albany, Mississippi United States of America - A Rose for Emily, Barn Burning, Dry September, That Evening Sun, Red Leaves

10
+ - 372 129
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Flannery O'Connor Savannah, Georgia United States of America - A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Geranium, The River

11
+ - 344 87
Guy de Maupassant is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Guy de Maupassant Tourville-sur-Arques, France - Boule de Suif, Deux Amis, Mother Savage, Mademoiselle Fifi

12
+ - 306 106
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Arthur Conan Doyle Eurasia, United Kingdom Scotland - The Adventure of the Speckled Band, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, The Man with the Twisted Lip

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+ - 167 90
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Manhattan, New York City New York - Bartleby, the Scrivener, The Lighning-Rod Man, Encantadas

14
+ - 217 99
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Rudyard Kipling Mumbai, India - Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, The Man Who Would Be King, Lispeth, Mowgli's Brothers

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+ - 247 81
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Leo Tolstoy Yasnaya Polyana, Russia - The Three Questions, What Men Live By, Ivan the Fool, Father Sergius

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+ - 244 79
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
James Joyce Rathgar, Republic of Ireland - The Dead, Araby, The Sisters, Eveline, The Boarding House, An Encounter

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+ - 311 85
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Ray Bradbury Waukegan, Illinois United States of America - All Summer in a Day, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Pedestrian, The Last Night of the World

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+ - 145 46
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Nikolai Gogol Velyki Sorochyntsi, Ukraine - The Overcoat, The Nose, Diary of a Madman, The Portrait

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+ - 207 85
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft Providence, Rhode Island United States of America - At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, History of the Necronomicon

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+ - 176 79
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
H. G. Wells Bromley, United Kingdom - The Red Room, The Country of the Blind, The New Accelerator, The Stolen Body

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+ - 289 94
Raymond Carver is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Raymond Carver Clatskanie, Oregon United States of America - Where I'm Calling From, Cathedral, Neighbors, So Much Water Close to Home

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+ - 234 123
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
J. D. Salinger New York City, New York United States of America - A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenter, For ‎Esmé—with Love and Squalor

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+ - 186 76
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Kurt Vonnegut Indianapolis, Indiana United States of America - Harrison Bergeron, 2 B R 0 2 B, Miss Temptation, The Report on the Barnhouse Effect

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+ - 144 71
Washington Irving is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Washington Irving Manhattan, New York City New York - Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Devil and Tom Walker

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+ - 224 85
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Roald Dahl Llandaff, Cardiff United Kingdom - The Landlady, Skin, Man from the South 

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+ - 212 79
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
F. Scott Fitzgerald Saint Paul, Minnesota United States of America - The Lost Decade, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, A Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Offshore Pirate

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+ - 141 42
Julio Cortázar is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Julio Cortázar Ixelles, Belgium - Axolotl, Blow-Up, Headache

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+ - 183 50
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Jack London California, United States of America - To Build a Fire, The Mexican, A Piece of Steak, Batard

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+ - 94 55
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Shirley Jackson California, United States of America - The Lottery, Louise Please Come Home, Charles, The Possibility of Evil, The Lovely House

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+ - 192 63
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Gabriel García Márquez Aracataca, Colombia - A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Eva Is Inside Her Cat, The Autumn of the Patriarch

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+ - 96 48
Rabindranath Tagore is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Rabindranath Tagore Kolkata, India

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+ - 135 83
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Charles Bukowski Andernach, Germany - All the Assh*les in the World Plus Mine, Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts

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+ - 127 57
Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Philip K. Dick Chicago, Illinois United States of America - The Minority Report, Second Variety, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, Paycheck

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+ - 143 71
John Cheever is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
John Cheever Quincy, Massachusetts United States of America - The Swimmer, Goodbye My Brother, The Enormous Radio, The Five-Forty-Eight

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+ - 115 33
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Berdychiv, Ukraine - Youth, The Lagoon, The Idiot, Tales of Unrest, An Outpost of Progress

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+ - 190 77
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Alice Munro Wingham, Ontario Canada - The Boy Came Over the Mountain, Deep Holes, The View from Castle Rock, Voices

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+ - 111 50
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
D. H. Lawrence Eastwood, United Kingdom - The Rocking-Horse Winner, The Princess, St Mawr, The Fox, The Woman Who Rode Away

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+ - 67 18
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen Odense, Denmark

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+ - 81 48
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Thomas Mann Lübeck, Germany - Death in Venice, Felix Krull, Mario and the Magician, Little Herr Friedemann, The Clown

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+ - 125 65
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Agatha Christie Torquay, United Kingdom - The Witness for the Protection, Accident, Philomel Cottage, The Chocolate Box, The Second Gong

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+ - 156 71
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Nathaniel Hawthorne Salem, United States of America United States - Young Goodman Brown, The Birth-Mark, Rappaccini's Daughter, The Minister's Black Veil

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+ - 76 50
P. G. Wodehouse is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
P. G. Wodehouse Guildford, United Kingdom - Carry On Jeeves, The Custody of Pumpkin, Extricating Young Gussie, Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend

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+ - 56 19
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time

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+ - 204 143
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Stephen King Portland, Maine United States of America - The Mangler, The Lawnmower Man, Graveyard Shift, The Boogeyman, Sometimes They Come Back

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+ - 96 38
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Vladimir Nabokov Saint Petersburg, Russia - Signs and Symbols, The Vane Sisters, Terra Incognita, A Nursery Tale

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+ - 73 37
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
W. Somerset Maugham Paris, France

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+ - 108 48
Saki is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Saki (H. H. Munro) Sittwe, Myanmar - The Interlopers, Gabriel-Ernest, The Toys of Peace, The Open Window

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+ - 87 33
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Isaac Asimov Petrovichi, Russia - The Bicentennial Man, Nightfall, The Last Question, The Fun They Had, The Last Answer

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+ - 48 39
James Thurber is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
James Thurber Columbus, Ohio United States of America

50
+ - 102 79
Haruki Murakami is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Haruki Murakami Fushimi-ku, Kyoto Japan - The Second Bakery Attack, The Year of Spaghetti, The Kidney-Shaped Stoned That Moves Every Day