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The Best Short Story Writers of All Time

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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  • Anton Chekhov
    1
    Taganrog, Russia
    Amazon
    The Lady with the Dog, The Bet, The Darling, Vanka, The Death of a Clerk, The Duel, A Boring Story
  • Jorge Luis Borges
    2
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Amazon
    The Library of Babel, The Other, The Circular Ruins, The Garden of Forking Paths
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    3
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Amazon
    The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat
  • Ernest Hemingway
    4
    Oak Park, Illinois, United States of America
    Amazon
    The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Capital of the World, Indian Camp, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber
  • Franz Kafka
    5
    Prague, Europe, Czech Republic
    Amazon
    The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, Description of a Struggle, The Village Schoolmaster
  • Flannery O'Connor
    6
    Savannah, Georgia
    Amazon
    A Good Man Is Hard to Find, Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Geranium, The River
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    7
  • Guy de Maupassant
    8
    Tourville-sur-Arques, France
    Amazon
    Boule de Suif, Deux Amis, Mother Savage, Mademoiselle Fifi
  • Leo Tolstoy
    9
    Yasnaya Polyana, Russia
    Amazon
    The Three Questions, What Men Live By, Ivan the Fool, Father Sergius
  • Ray Bradbury
    10
    Waukegan, Illinois, United States of America
    Amazon
    All Summer in a Day, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Pedestrian, The Last Night of the World
  • Raymond Carver
    11
    Clatskanie, Oregon
    Amazon
    Where I'm Calling From, Cathedral, Neighbors, So Much Water Close to Home
  • Nikolai Gogol
    12
    Velyki Sorochyntsi, Ukraine
    Amazon
    The Overcoat, The Nose, Diary of a Madman, The Portrait
  • Mark Twain
    13
    Florida, Missouri, United States of America
    Amazon
    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The War Prayer, The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, Eve's Diary
  • Charles Dickens
    14
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    Amazon
  • James Joyce
    15
    Rathgar, Republic of Ireland
    Amazon
    The Dead, Araby, The Sisters, Eveline, The Boarding House, An Encounter
  • Jack London
    16
    California, United States of America
    Amazon
    To Build a Fire, The Mexican, A Piece of Steak, Batard
  • Alice Munro
    17
    Wingham, Ontario, Canada
    Amazon
    The Boy Came Over the Mountain, Deep Holes, The View from Castle Rock, Voices
  • Joseph Conrad
    18
    Ukraine, Berdychiv
    Amazon
    Youth, The Lagoon, The Idiot, Tales of Unrest, An Outpost of Progress
  • William Faulkner
    19
    New Albany, Mississippi
    Amazon
    A Rose for Emily, Barn Burning, Dry September, That Evening Sun, Red Leaves
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
    20
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Amazon
    The Adventure of the Speckled Band, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Final Problem, The Man with the Twisted Lip
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
    21
    Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America
    Amazon
    The Lost Decade, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, A Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Offshore Pirate
  • Gabriel García Márquez
    22
    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Eva Is Inside Her Cat, The Autumn of the Patriarch
  • Hans Christian Andersen
    23
  • O. Henry
    24
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Amazon
    The Gift of the Magi, The Ransom of Red Chief, After Twenty Years, A Retrieved Reformation
  • Oscar Wilde
    25
    Dublin, Republic of Ireland
    Amazon
    The Nightingale and the Rose, The Happy Prince, A House of Pomegranates