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.

list ordered by

1
1,203 409
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America - The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat

2
782 287
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Prague, Czech Republic - The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, Description of a Struggle, The Village Schoolmaster

3
1,094 223
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
548 231
O. Henry is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Greensboro, North Carolina, United States of America - The Gift of the Magi, The Ransom of Red Chief, After Twenty Years, A Retrieved Reformation

5
607 200
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
494 196
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
831 248
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
600 209
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Savannah, Georgia, United States of America - A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Geranium, The River

9
660 152
Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
477 160
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
434 138
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
carlybobarly added New Albany, Mississippi, United States of America - A Rose for Emily, Barn Burning, Dry September, That Evening Sun, Red Leaves

12
328 160
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
474 137
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
238 142
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
386 124
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
377 123
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
461 128
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
306 143
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
hasrvwill added Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America - At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, History of the Necronomicon

19
236 85
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
429 132
Raymond Carver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Clatskanie, Oregon, United States of America - Where I'm Calling From, Cathedral, Neighbors, So Much Water Close to Home

21
353 165
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
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

22
339 124
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
252 107
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
hasrvwill added Bromley, United Kingdom - The Red Room, The Country of the Blind, The New Accelerator, The Stolen Body

24
297 107
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America - Harrison Bergeron, 2 B R 0 2 B, Miss Temptation, The Report on the Barnhouse Effect

25
307 115
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
193 105
Washington Irving is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Manhattan, New York City, New York - Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Devil and Tom Walker

27
168 88
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
BISKIT added California, United States of America - The Lottery, Louise Please Come Home, Charles, The Possibility of Evil, The Lovely House

28
138 45
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
stubb added Odense, Denmark

29
275 81
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
California, United States of America - To Build a Fire, The Mexican, A Piece of Steak, Batard

30
197 72
Julio Cortázar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Ansim added Ixelles, Belgium - Axolotl, Blow-Up, Headache

31
269 92
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Aracataca, Colombia - A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Eva Is Inside Her Cat, The Autumn of the Patriarch

32
312 112
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Dani Porter added Wingham, Ontario, Canada - The Boy Came Over the Mountain, Deep Holes, The View from Castle Rock, Voices

33
219 95
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Salem, Massachusetts, United States of America - Young Goodman Brown, The Birth-Mark, Rappaccini's Daughter, The Minister's Black Veil

34
178 92
Rabindranath Tagore is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
AtanuMukherjee added Kolkata, India

35
208 92
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
tushar.at7 added Torquay, United Kingdom - The Witness for the Protection, Accident, Philomel Cottage, The Chocolate Box, The Second Gong

36
217 99
John Cheever is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
carlybobarly added USA, Massachusetts, Quincy - The Swimmer, Goodbye My Brother, The Enormous Radio, The Five-Forty-Eight

37
179 53
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
looksharp added Berdychiv, Ukraine - Youth, The Lagoon, The Idiot, Tales of Unrest, An Outpost of Progress

38
187 83
Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
tushar.at7 added Chicago, Illinois, United States of America - The Minority Report, Second Variety, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, Paycheck

39
115 74
P. G. Wodehouse is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
nnmalvankar added Guildford, United Kingdom - Carry On Jeeves, The Custody of Pumpkin, Extricating Young Gussie, Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend

40
159 73
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Eastwood, United Kingdom - The Rocking-Horse Winner, The Princess, St Mawr, The Fox, The Woman Who Rode Away

41
122 68
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Lübeck, Germany - Death in Venice, Felix Krull, Mario and the Magician, Little Herr Friedemann, The Clown

42
145 62
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
venkat.sunderam added Paris, France

43
181 121
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
clash1977 added Andernach, Germany - All the Assh*les in the World Plus Mine, Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts

44
113 40
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
stubb added

45
320 202
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Portland, Maine, United States of America - The Mangler, The Lawnmower Man, Graveyard Shift, The Boogeyman, Sometimes They Come Back

46
149 51
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Zimble added Petrovichi, Russia - The Bicentennial Man, Nightfall, The Last Question, The Fun They Had, The Last Answer

47
166 71
Saki is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
DavidHowarth added Sittwe, Myanmar - The Interlopers, Gabriel-Ernest, The Toys of Peace, The Open Window

48
142 60
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Saint Petersburg, Russia - Signs and Symbols, The Vane Sisters, Terra Incognita, A Nursery Tale

49
125 20
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Moscow, Russia

50
83 63
James Thurber is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
MadHatter84 added Columbus, Ohio, United States of America