Fiction The Best Short Story Writers of All Time  

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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
1,393 462
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Eastern United States, Boston, Area code 617
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat
2
879 335
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
1,248 247
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
626 279
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
688 223
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
916 278
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
550 232
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
AnastasiaSmith added Ireland, Ireland, Europe
The Nightingale and the Rose, The Happy Prince, A House of Pomegranates
8
756 170
Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
650 231
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Savannah, United States of America, United States
A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Geranium, The River
10
481 154
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
538 188
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Eurasia, United Kingdom, Scotland
The Adventure of the Speckled Band, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, The Man with the Twisted Lip
12
373 183
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
531 153
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
267 160
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
New York City, Manhattan, Area code 917
Bartleby, the Scrivener, The Lighning-Rod Man, Encantadas
15
428 142
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
512 146
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
417 151
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
356 160
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
484 147
Raymond Carver is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
296 121
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
384 140
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Llandaff, Cardiff, United Kingdom
The Landlady, Skin, Man from the South 
22
263 104
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
392 188
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
352 132
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
325 123
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 25 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