Fiction

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, such as romance, humor, or sadness. 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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list ordered by
1
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Boston, Massachusetts
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat
2
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Taganrog, Russia
The Lady with the Dog, The Bet, The Darling, Vanka, The Death of a Clerk, The Duel, A Boring Story
3
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
AnastasiaSmith added Dublin, Republic of Ireland
The Nightingale and the Rose, The Happy Prince, A House of Pomegranates
4
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Prague, Europe, Czech Republic
The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, Description of a Struggle, The Village Schoolmaster
5
O. Henry is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Greensboro, North Carolina
The Gift of the Magi, The Ransom of Red Chief, After Twenty Years, A Retrieved Reformation
6
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
mrblond added Florida, Missouri, United States of America
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The War Prayer, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, Eve's Diary
7
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
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
8
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
The Adventure of the Speckled Band, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, The Man with the Twisted Lip
9
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Savannah, Georgia
A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Geranium, The River
10
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Mumbai, India
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, The Man Who Would Be King, Lispeth, Mowgli's Brothers
11
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
carlybobarly added New Albany, Mississippi
A Rose for Emily, Barn Burning, Dry September, That Evening Sun, Red Leaves
12
Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Library of Babel, The Other, The Circular Ruins, The Garden of Forking Paths
13
Guy de Maupassant is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Tourville-sur-Arques, France
Boule de Suif, Deux Amis, Mother Savage, Mademoiselle Fifi
14
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
New York City, New York
A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenter, For ‎Esmé—with Love and Squalor
15
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Manhattan, New York City, New York
Bartleby, the Scrivener, The Lighning-Rod Man, Encantadas
16
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America
The Lost Decade, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, A Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Offshore Pirate
17
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Yasnaya Polyana, Russia
The Three Questions, What Men Live By, Ivan the Fool, Father Sergius
18
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Waukegan, Illinois, United States of America
All Summer in a Day, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Pedestrian, The Last Night of the World
19
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
looksharp added Rathgar, Republic of Ireland
The Dead, Araby, The Sisters, Eveline, The Boarding House, An Encounter
20
Raymond Carver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Clatskanie, Oregon
Where I'm Calling From, Cathedral, Neighbors, So Much Water Close to Home
21
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
hasrvwill added Providence, Rhode Island
At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, History of the Necronomicon
22
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Llandaff, Cardiff, United Kingdom
The Landlady, Skin, Man from the South 
23
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
stubb added Odense, Denmark
24
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Harrison Bergeron, 2 B R 0 2 B, Miss Temptation, The Report on the Barnhouse Effect
25
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Velyki Sorochyntsi, Ukraine
The Overcoat, The Nose, Diary of a Madman, The Portrait