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
1,276 423
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
813 305
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
1,140 231
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
575 244
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
642 210
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
524 208
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
860 259
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Oak Park, Illinois, USA - The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Capital of the World, Indian Camp, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

8
695 160
Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
DVD Region 4, South America, Greater Buenos Aires - The Library of Babel, The Other, The Circular Ruins, The Garden of Forking Paths

9
611 219
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
504 170
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
453 146
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
344 169
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
498 144
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
249 150
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
398 131
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
478 135
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
392 136
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
330 147
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
447 138
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
244 95
Nikolai Gogol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Ukraine, Eurasia, Velyki Sorochyntsi - The Overcoat, The Nose, Diary of a Madman, The Portrait

21
356 131
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Cardiff, United Kingdom - The Landlady, Skin, Man from the South 

22
267 112
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
367 176
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
321 122
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
305 116
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

26
158 49
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
stubb added Odense, Denmark

27
202 111
Washington Irving is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
179 95
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 28 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

29
289 85
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
218 75
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
285 96
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
235 100
Nathaniel Hawthorne is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
187 96
Rabindranath Tagore is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
AtanuMukherjee added Kolkata, India

34
317 120
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
221 99
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
191 55
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
224 104
John Cheever is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
carlybobarly added Eastern United States, New England, Norfolk County - The Swimmer, Goodbye My Brother, The Enormous Radio, The Five-Forty-Eight

38
120 79
P. G. Wodehouse is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
nnmalvankar added South East England, Surrey, Eurasia - Carry On Jeeves, The Custody of Pumpkin, Extricating Young Gussie, Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend

39
190 88
Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
124 44
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
stubb added

41
154 66
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
venkat.sunderam added Île-de-France, Europe, Metropolitan France

42
191 127
Charles Bukowski is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
165 79
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
East Midlands, Nottinghamshire, Eurasia - The Rocking-Horse Winner, The Princess, St Mawr, The Fox, The Woman Who Rode Away

44
126 72
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
335 212
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
155 59
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
175 77
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
147 64
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Northwestern Federal District, Eurasia, Russia - Signs and Symbols, The Vane Sisters, Terra Incognita, A Nursery Tale

49
141 23
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Moscow, Russia

50
98 24
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
homax added Portsmouth, United Kingdom