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
1,352 447
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
857 326
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
1,206 241
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
603 269
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
670 218
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
895 271
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
540 223
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
731 168
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
635 229
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
529 182
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
471 152
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
363 177
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
517 150
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
262 156
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
414 139
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
503 143
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
409 146
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
looksharp added
The Dead, Araby, The Sisters, Eveline, The Boarding House, An Encounter

18
348 156
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
469 146
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
376 137
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Short Story Writers of All Time
Llandaff, Cardiff, United Kingdom
The Landlady, Skin, Man from the South 

21
287 119
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
254 100
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
380 184
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
338 130
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
317 120
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