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Ten Outstanding Short Stories to Read in 2022

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"The words 'short story' picked out on a grungy old typewriter."

The  #longreads hashtag on Twitter is filled with great story recommendations from people around the world. Throughout the year, Pravesh Bhardwaj posts his favorite short stories on Twitter, and then in January, we get to share his favorites with you to enjoy in the year ahead.

best short story 2022

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Starting with Kevin Barry’s “That Old Country Music” from Electric Lit to Aleksandar Hemon’s “Blind Jozef Pronek and Dead Souls” from The Baffler , I posted 276 stories in 2021. Here are the ten I most enjoyed reading.

“Prophets” by Brandon Taylor ( Joyland )

Brandon Taylor’s Real Life was shortlisted for The Booker Prize in 2020. He followed it with the short story collection Filthy Animals , published in June, 2021. The following story is set in the world of academia — Brandon Taylor’s Macondo .

The famous black writer was in town to give a reading, and Coleman was not sure if he would go. He had known the famous black writer for a few years, but only indirectly. They had many friends in common and had gone to the same university, though years apart. The famous black writer had a kind of totally useless fame, which was to say that he was notable among a small group of people interested in highly experimental fiction that was really memoir but also a poem. The famous black writer had built a reputation for pyrotechnic readings that sometimes included slideshows of brutalized slave bodies and sometimes involved moan-singing. Coleman had watched videos of the famous black writer and had felt a nauseating secondhand embarrassment, thinking Is this how people see me? The famous black writer was handsome—tall, with striking bone structure, and a real classic elegance. He looked like an adult, like a finished version of an expensive product. His hair was quite architectural. The night of the reading, he wore a mohair coat and slim-cut, all-black ensemble right out of a photograph from the 1950s.

“Muscle” by Daniyal Mueenuddin ( The New Yorker )

Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders was a sensational debut collection of short stories. Since reading it, I have been looking forward to his next work. The following story appeared in The New Yorker .

Back in the nineteen-fifties, when old Mian Abdullah Abdalah rose to serve as Pakistan’s Federal Secretary Establishment, a knee-bending district administration metalled the road leading from the Cawnapur railway station to his Dunyapur estate. They also pushed out a telephone line to his farmhouse, the first phone on any farm in the district. Even now, thirty years later, there was no other line nearby. A single wire ran many forlorn miles from Cawnapur city through the flat tan landscape of South Punjab, there on the edge of the Great Indian Desert, then alongside the packed-dirt farm tracks laid out in geometric lines, and finally entered the grounds of a small, handsome residence built in the style of a British colonial dak bungalow. Now, for the second time in a month, the Chandios had stolen a section of the telephone wire, which served for all the area as a symbol of the Dunyapur estate’s preëminence. The Chandio village sat far from the road at the back end of the estate, buried in an expanse of reeds and derelict land, dunes that had never been cleared. Testing Mian Abdalah’s grandson, Sohel, who had returned from college in America six months earlier and moved onto the estate, they had been amusing themselves and bearding him by cutting out lengths of the wire that passed near their village and selling them for copper somewhere across the Indus.

“The Great Escape” by Hilma Wolitzer ( Electric Lit )

The current pandemic has changed our lives; I am one of those who felt that 2021 was tougher than 2020. Hilma Wolitzer’s story, published in her collection, Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket tells a tender but sweeping story of a decades-long marriage.

I used to look at Howard first thing in the morning to see if he was awake, too, and if he wanted to get something going before one of the kids crashed into the room and plopped down between us like an Amish bundling board. Lately, though, with the children long grown and gone to their own marriage beds, I found myself glancing over to see if Howard was still alive, holding my breath while I watched for the shallow rise and fall of his, the way I had once watched for a promising rise in the bedclothes. Whenever I saw that he was breathing and that the weather waited just behind the blinds to be let in, I felt an irrational surge of happiness. Another day! And then another and another and another. Breakfast, vitamins, bills, argument, blood pressure pills, lunch, doctor, cholesterol medicine, the telephone, supper, TV, sleeping pills, sleep, waking. It seemed as if it would all go on forever in that exquisitely boring and beautiful way. But of course it wouldn’t; everyone knows that.

“Witness” by Jamel Brinkley ( Lithub )

This story was selected as an O. Henry Prize winner in 2021.

My sister threw upon the door so that it banged against the little console table she kept by the entrance. “Silas,” she said breathlessly, before even removing her coat, “I have to tell you something.” Which was enough to make me feel trapped, as though the words out of her mouth were expanding and filling up the space in her tiny apartment. I told her to calm down and apologized, and then I began making excuses for myself. I had assumed she would be angry at me because of the previous night, so I was primed for what she might say when she got home from work. “Don’t be so defensive,” Bernice said. “I’m not talking about that.” She tapped my legs so I would move them and then plopped down next to me on the love seat. The chill from outside clung to her body. I saved my reformatted CV, set my laptop on the floor, and listened. The man who sang out of tune had been waiting for her again. He had started standing near the card shop on Amsterdam Avenue during her lunch hour two weeks earlier, and she had quickly noticed his repeated presence. As she passed him that afternoon, he faced her directly and gave her a meaningful look, which was more than he had ever done before. “But all he did after that was keep belting it out in that terrible voice,” she told me. “A sentimental song, you know? The sweetness of making love in the morning.” Even though he was thin and light skinned and wore those big, clunky headphones—“ Not my type at all,” she said—Bernice did find him somewhat handsome. But since he didn’t say anything, she just went inside the shop.

“The Wind” by Lauren Groff ( The New Yorker )

Lauren Groff had a lovely novella What’s the Time, Mr.Wolf? published in The New Yorker as well, but this story is special and carries a punch.

Pretend, the mother had said when she crept to her daughter’s room in the night, that tomorrow is just an ordinary day. So the daughter had risen as usual and washed and made toast and warm milk for her brothers, and while they were eating she emptied their schoolbags into the toy chest and filled them with clothes, a toothbrush, one book for comfort. The children moved silently through the black morning, put on their shoes outside on the porch. The dog thumped his tail against the doghouse in the cold yard but was old and did not get up. The children’s breath hovered low and white as they walked down to the bus stop, a strange presence trailing them in the road. When they stopped by the mailbox, the younger brother said in a very small voice, Is she dead? The older boy hissed, Shut up, you’ll wake him, and all three looked at the house hunched up on the hill in the chilly dark, the green siding half installed last summer, the broken front window covered with cardboard. The sister touched the little one’s head and said, whispering, No, no, don’t worry, she’s alive. I heard her go out to feed the sheep, and then she left for work. The boy leaned like a cat into her hand. He was six, his brother was nine, and the girl was twelve. These were my uncles and my mother as children.

“Forty-Two” by Lisa Taddeo ( New England Review )

Lisa Taddeo won her first Pushcart Prize for this story. Her novel Animal was published in 2021.

In a small wooden box at her nightstand she kept a special reserve of six joints meticulously rolled, because the last time she’d slept with someone on the regular he’d been twenty-seven and having good pot at your house means one extra reason for the guy to come over, besides a good mattress and good coffee and great products in a clean bathroom. At home your towels smell like ancient noodles. But at Joan’s the rugs are free of hair and dried-up snot. The sink smells like lemon. The maid folds your boxers. Sleeping with an older woman is like having a weekend vacation home.

“A Dangerous Creature” by Mary Morris ( Narrative Magazine )

Mary Morris’ story is one of heartache and loss, about a family and their newly found rescue dog.

The dog is a rescue. He was dumped from a moving car right in front of Dr. Katz’s office. Pete, the vet technician, was on the stoop, smoking a cigarette, when it happened. Dropped like a sack of potatoes, Pete told Dr. Katz. Pete picked up the dog—a mangy black-and-white with deep dark eyes—and brought him to Dr. Katz, who was finishing up a Rottweiler with glass in its paw. The dog is a mongrel—a Lab and something-else mix. Maybe shepherd or border collie. Dr. Katz isn’t sure. A gentle dog. About two years old. He is mostly white but with a black tail and black patches, including one that encircles his left eye. The minute Roger Katz lays eyes on the dog he knows he’ll call him Pirate. Roger wasn’t planning on adopting a dog. It’s kind of a joke among his wife, children, friends, and extended family. The cobbler’s family has no shoes. The Katz family has no pets. They’d had the occasional fish and hamster—none of which had survived very long in that household. But never a cat and never a dog. In fact, Roger’s name is a bit of a joke for his line of work. Katz Animal Care. Danny, his middle child, had thought up the motto: “We do dogs. And Katz too.” But the family itself has never had either of these as a pet.

“The Hospital Where” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah ( Longreads )

Nana Kwame Adjei-Breynah’s story about a father and his writer son is a part of his celebrated collection Friday Black .

“What are you looking for?” said a woman who I hoped knew I was already lost and scared. She stood in front of me in purple scrubs and colorful nurse-type shoes. Her brown hair was spun into something that let everyone know she was very busy and hadn’t slept in a long time. The tone of her voice, spiced with the Bronx, said I was one of many inconveniences in her life. “I’m looking for my dad; he just came through here a second ago.” “Is that all?” She tapped her clipboard with a pen. “What department?” I had no idea what department my father was looking for, so I told her the truth about that. “Well, I don’t know how you don’t know, but —” She was about to take great pleasure in telling me that I was in this situation due to my own incompetence and that even though she could not help me, she herself was very competent. I walked away from her before she could finish.

“Unread Messages” by Sally Rooney ( The New Yorker )

Sally Rooney won an O. Henry Prize for this story in 2021. Her third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You was published last year.

At twenty past twelve on a Wednesday afternoon, a woman sat behind a desk in a shared office in Dublin city center, scrolling through a text document. She had very dark hair, swept back loosely into a tortoiseshell clasp, and she was wearing a dark-gray sweater tucked into black cigarette trousers. Using the soft, greasy roller on her computer mouse she skimmed over the document, eyes flicking back and forth across narrow columns of text, and occasionally she stopped, clicked, and inserted or deleted characters. Most frequently she was inserting two full stops into the name “WH Auden,” in order to standardize its appearance as “W. H. Auden.” When she reached the end of the document, she opened a search command, selected the Match Case option, and entered “WH.” No matches appeared. She scrolled back up to the top of the document, words and paragraphs flying past illegibly, and then, apparently satisfied, saved her work and closed the file. At one o’clock she told her colleagues she was going to lunch, and they smiled and waved at her from behind their monitors. Pulling on a jacket, she walked to a café near the office and sat at a table by the window, holding a sandwich in one hand and a copy of “The Brothers Karamazov” in the other. At twenty to two, she looked up to observe a tall, fair-haired man entering the café. He was wearing a suit and tie, with a plastic lanyard around his neck, and was speaking into his phone. Yeah, he said, I was told Tuesday, but I’ll call back and check that for you. When he saw the woman seated by the window, his face changed, and he quickly lifted his free hand, mouthing the word Hey. Into the phone, he continued, I don’t think you were copied on that, no. Looking at the woman, he pointed to the phone impatiently and made a talking gesture with his hand. She smiled, toying with the corner of a page in her book. Right, right, the man said. Listen, I’m actually out of the office now, but I’ll do that when I get back in. Yeah. Good, good, good to talk to you.

“Shanghai Murmur” by Te-Ping Chen ( The Atlantic )

Te-Ping Chen’s debut collection In Land of Big Numbers was included in Barrack Obama’s favorite reads of 2021. This story is about a flower shop assistant’s involvement with a professional who has a fountain pen that costs more than the assistant’s yearly salary.

The man who lived upstairs had died, and it had taken the other tenants days to notice, days in which the sweetly putrid scent thickened and residents tried to avoid his part of the hall, palms tenting their noses as they came and left. At last someone sent for the building manager, who summoned his unemployed cousin to break the lock and paid him 100 yuan to carry the body down the three flights of stairs. There was a squabble as the residents who inhabited the adjoining rooms argued that they should have their rent lowered; the death was bad luck. Xiaolei stood listening as the building manager shouted them down. She felt sorry for the man who had died, whom she recalled as middle-aged, with tired, deep-set eyes, a chain-smoker who’d worked at the local post office. She supposed that if she ever asphyxiated or was stabbed overnight, the same thing would happen to her.

Be sure to check out Pravesh Bhardwaj ‘s story picks from 2021 , 2020 , 2019 , 2018 , 2017 , 2016 , and 2015 .

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20 New Must-Read Short Story Collections

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Emily Martin

Emily has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, MS, and she has an MFA in Creative Writing from GCSU in Milledgeville, GA, home of Flannery O’Connor. She spends her free time reading, watching horror movies and musicals, cuddling cats, Instagramming pictures of cats, and blogging/podcasting about books with the ladies over at #BookSquadGoals (www.booksquadgoals.com). She can be reached at [email protected].

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best short story 2022

In his first-ever short story collection, which spans forty years of work, Alan Moore presents a series of wildly different and equally unforgettable characters who discover—and in some cases even make and unmake—the various uncharted parts of existence. From ghosts and otherworldly creatures to theoretical Boltzmann brains fashioning the universe at the big bang, Illuminations is exactly that—a series of bright, startling tales from a contemporary legend that reveal the full power of imagination and magic.

A good short story has an incredible amount of power. In just a small amount of pages, authors of short stories are able to create entire worlds, depict characters who feel real, and evoke deep emotions. If you’re a fan of short stories, you’re in luck, because 2022 has been an excellent year for short story collections. In fact, there are so many great short story collections this year, that it was hard to narrow it down to just 20 must-reads. We couldn’t possibly cover them all, so if your fave didn’t make this list, no worries! It’s still amazing.

As for the ones that are on this list, these are the 20 must-read short story collections that you’re going to love, no matter what genres you normally gravitate towards. Literary fiction is heavily represented on this list, but there are short stories in plenty of other genres as well! Love speculative fiction? Of course you do. There’s plenty of that here on this list. Mysteries? Thrillers? Suspense? Yep. Horror? Aww yeah. Sci-fi? Fantasy? Check and check. Basically, these short story collections are doing everything, and you’re going to love them.

So get your TBR lists ready, because you’re going to want to add all of these books to your to-read pile right away.

cover of Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

Jean Chen Ho’s debut is a collection of linked stories following Fiona Lin and Jane Shen, two Taiwanese American women who have been best friends since the 2nd grade. Growing up in Los Angeles, Fiona and Jane have very different but equally tumultuous family lives. As with most friendships, there are moments in time when Fiona and Jane grow closer to one another, and other periods of time where they drift apart. Each short story explores a different moment in their friendship throughout their lives. Together, these stories paint a vivid portrait of friendship, love, loss, and coming of age in contemporary America.

cover for seasonal work

Seasonal Work by Laura Lippman

If you are already a fan of Laura Lippman’s work, then you absolutely have to add her latest short story collection to your TBR list. But even if you’ve never read Lippman before, you’re in for a treat. Seasonal Work is a collection of psychological suspense/thriller stories featuring murder, mystery, love gone wrong, deception, scandals, and so much more. If you only read one crime fiction short story in 2022, make it one from this short story collection.

cover of Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories by Sindya Bhanoo; image of a brown suitcase wrapped in pink flowers

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere by Sindya Bhanoo

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere is the debut short story collection from O. Henry Prize winning author Sindya Bhanoo. From Pittsburgh to Washington to Tamil Nadu, these stories explore the lives of South Indian immigrants and the families they leave behind. Bhanoo’s stories show how the lives of these characters and the decisions they make are complicated, filled with moments of regret, hope, and triumph.

cover of Out There by Kate Folk

Out There by Kate Folk

What strange and eerie secrets lurk beneath the lives of seemingly ordinary people? That’s what Kate Folk examines in her short story collection Out There. These highly imaginative short stories infuse elements of horror, fantasy, and science fiction into the literary fiction landscape. Each story looks deep into the reader’s subconscious dreams and nightmares.

cover of Night of the Living Rez: Stories by Morgan Talty, pastel font over illustration of night sky seen from the forest floor

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty

This collection consists of 12 short stories that look at life in Maine’s Native Penobscot Nation in the 21st century. These dark but honest stories follow a troubled family dealing with issues of grief, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, and more. But these stories are filled with hope and magic as well. At the center of Night of the Living Rez is David. Each story explores the lives of David, his family, and his friends at different points in their lives.

the cover of Life Ceremony

Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata

Life Ceremony is Sayaka Murata’s first short story collection to ever be translated into English. In these 12 stories, the award-winning author of Convenience Store Woman mixes her signature blend of the humorous, the awkward, and the terrifying to tell stories of loners and outcasts who buck traditions and societal expectations. Murata’s stories will have you questioning what it means to be human in this world and what is sacrificed when we try too hard to fit in.

ghost lover book cover

Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo

From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Taddeo comes a stunning collection of nine short stories you won’t want to miss. This collection includes two Pushcart Prize winners and a finalist for the National Magazine Award as well as previously unpublished work. Ghost Lover tells stories of complicated, fascinating, and flawed women and their experiences of deep love, wild obsession, and uncontrollable grief.

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu book cover

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Kim Fu’s Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century is a collection of 12 speculative fiction short stories where the ordinary is made strange and the strange becomes ordinary. Each story in this collection creates a strange world where readers will get lost. From a group of children who steal a haunted doll to an insomniac seduced by the Sandman, each of these short stories digs deep into human nature and the contradictions that live within us all.

Bliss Montage cover

Bliss Montage by Ling Ma

Ling Ma stunned readers with her debut novel Severance in 2018, and now she’s back with a short story collection that’s just as mesmerizing. Through eight short stories, Ma introduces readers to characters and stories that examine the realities of motherhood, friendship, love, loneliness, and more. In one story, a woman lives in a house with all of her ex-boyfriends. In another, a toxic friendship is built around a drug that makes you invisible. These situations seems strange, but the emotions and characters are entirely relatable.

natural history book cover

Natural History by Andrea Barrett

The six short stories in Andrea Barrett’s collection Natural History feature characters Barrett has written about in her work since 1996’s Ship Fever . But even if this is your first Andrea Barrett book, you will connect with these characters right away. In these interconnected stories, Barrett allows readers into the intertwined lives of a family of scientists, teachers, and innovators. Following their lives throughout the years, readers see the ways women’s lives and the expectations put upon them have changed over the years.

what we fed to the manticore book cover

What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri

What We Fed to the Manticore is a really fun short story collection because it consists of nine short stories all told from a different animal’s perspectives. Through these animals’ eyes, debut author Talia Lakshmi Kolluri discusses environmentalism, conservation, identity, belonging, loss, and family. Whether the story is told from the perspective of a donkey, a vulture, or a pigeon, readers will become full immersed in these characters and their stories.

Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-lee Chai cover

Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-lee Chai

Tomorrow in Shanghai is May-lee Chai’s beautiful follow-up collection to her award-winning collection Useful Phrases for Immigrants. These stories examine the lives of people in China, the Chinese diaspora in America, and people of Chinese descent living throughout the world. Whether the characters are rich or poor, male or female, living in the city or the country, each story looks at issues of prejudice, power dynamics, and interpersonal struggles in the globalized world.

cover of The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe

The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe

The Memory Librarian  is like a literary tie-in for Janelle Monáe’s high-concept album  Dirty Computer,  set in a world in which thoughts can be erased or controlled. This collection expands on the totalitarian existence imagined in  Dirty Computer . To fully flesh out this sci-fi world, Monáe also collaboraties with several talented sci-fi/fantasy authors, including Yohanca Delgado, Eve L. Ewing, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Danny Lore, and Sheree Renée Thomas — just to name a few.

Seven Empty Houses cover

Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin

Seven Empty Houses is a short story collection that just made the  National Book Award longlist  for best book in translation. In this collection, Samanta Schweblin tells seven stories about seven strange houses that are all empty in different ways. Some are devoid of love. Some don’t have any furniture. Or any people. But in every case, something always creeps in: trespassers, a ghost, a list of things to do before you die…you get the idea. Samanta Schweblin has already wowed readers with her collection Mouthful of Birds, and this one is just as good if not better!

a sliver of darkness book cover

A Sliver of Darkness by C. J. Tudor

This debut short story collection from author C. J. Tudor features 10 tales that are creepy, twisty, and mind-bending. For instance, there’s “The Lion at the Gate,” a story about a strange piece of graffiti that leads four school friends into a horrifying encounter. And as the world descends into darkness in “Final Course,” a group of old friends find time for one last dinner party. Then there’s “I’m Not Ted,” in which a case of mistaken identity turns deadly. This one is a must-read for horror fans and anyone who is hungry for stories that will stick with you long after you’ve finished the final page.

heartbroke book cover

Heartbroke by Chelsea Bieker

Chelsea Bieker, the acclaimed author of Godshot, is back with a remarkable collection of short stories set in California’s Central Valley. From a woman who steals a baby from a shelter, to a mother and son selling dreamcatchers along the highway, to two teenage girls playing a dangerous online game, all of Bieker’s characters burn with deep and reckless desires. And all are heartbroken in their own ways.

Milk Blood Heat book cover

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz

The last collection was set entirely in California, and Milk Blood Heat is all about Florida. In the cities and suburbs of Florida, the characters in these stories each find themselves confronted by moments of violent personal reckonings. Dantiel W. Moniz’s debut collection is filled with intimate, emotional moments that shed light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, and how we are all connected to one another.

city of saints and madmen book cover

City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer, who has been called “the weird Thoreau,” is probably most known for his sci-fi/weird fiction Southern Reach trilogy ( Annihilation, Authority , and Acceptance ). In City of Saints and Madmen, VanderMeer introduces readers to the world of Ambergris, a place unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. Through this interwoven collection of stories, histories, and “eyewitness” reports, VanderMeer creates a fantasy world that feels incredibly real.

Cover of Gods of Want

Gods of Want by K-Ming Chang

With each story in K-Ming Chang’s Gods of Want , the author mixes myth, memory, and surrealism to tell feminist stories about Asian American women from different walks of life. In “Xífù,” a mother-in-law goes to torturous ends in an attempt to get a wife out of her home. In “Virginia Slims,” a woman from a cigarette ad becomes real. And in “Auntland,” a stream of aunts attempt to adjust to American life in strange ways. These uncanny stories explore questions of power, identity, and memory.

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs cover

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana

All of the stories in Sidik Fofana’s Stories from the Tenants Downstairs are set in a low-income Harlem high rise where gentrification weighs heavy on the tenants’ minds. Each of the eight interconnected stories explores the hopes, struggles, and strengths of the tenants in the Banneker Homes. Every tenant there has a unique, touching, and thought-provoking story to tell.

Looking for more must-read short story collections? Here are 10 speculative story collections to enjoy in 2022 . And here are the sci-fi/fantasy short story collections you won’t want to miss .

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Best Short Fiction of 2022

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SEPT. 13, 2022

by Andrea Barrett

More superb work from an American master. Full review >

best short story 2022

MARCH 8, 2022

by Sindya Bhanoo

Graceful stories by a writer with enormous empathy for even the most flawed and forlorn among us. Full review >


OCT. 18, 2022

by Luke Dani Blue

Original work intent on creating new ways to imagine transformations. Full review >


SEPT. 6, 2022

by Jonathan Escoffery

A fine debut that looks at the complexities of cultural identity with humor, savvy, and a rich sense of place. Full review >


AUG. 16, 2022

by Sidik Fofana

A potentially significant voice in African American fiction asserts itself with wit and compassion. Full review >


MARCH 29, 2022

by Kate Folk

A bold, exhilarating display of talent. Full review >


FEB. 1, 2022

A powerful collection that demonstrates Fu’s range and skill. Full review >


JUNE 21, 2022

by Chelsea T. Hicks

Dark and darkly comic stories that herald an important new voice in American letters. Full review >


by Ladee Hubbard

Hubbard’s eyes and ears are in superb working order as she tells this besieged community’s life story. Full review >


JUNE 7, 2022

by Arinze Ifeakandu

Deftly capturing the richness and dangers of romantic connection, these stories complicate and reimagine queer narratives. Full review >


JULY 19, 2022

by Jamil Jan Kochai

Stunning, compassionate, flawless. Full review >


APRIL 12, 2022

by Leigh Newman

Bighearted stories of domestic discord by a writer with a cleareyed view of Alaska's romance and hardscrabble realism. Full review >


APRIL 1, 2022

by Cristina Rivera Garza ; translated by Sarah Booker , Francisca González Arias , Lisa Dillman , Cristina Rivera Garza & Alex Ross

A fine collection, chilling and frequently bizarre in all the best ways. Full review >


by George Saunders

A tour de force collection that showcases all of Saunders’ many skills. Full review >


JULY 5, 2022

by Morgan Talty

Ranging from grim to tender, these stories reveal the hardships facing a young Native American in contemporary America. Full review >


JUNE 28, 2022

by Jess Walter

Not sure why the author is in such a good mood, but it's contagious. Prepare for delight. Full review >


APRIL 26, 2022

by John Weir

Sharp, elegiac, angry, funny stories with a searing loneliness often just underneath the surface. Full review >

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The Best Short Story Collections for Great Literature in Small Portions

Works by revered writers like Zadie Smith and Ian McEwan, as well as breakthrough names like Emma Cline and Carmen Maria Machado

short story collections

Short stories are more than just a quick fix of fiction for the time-strapped. When crafted well, short stories are like grenades which quickly explode in front of us. They let us dip our toe into strange minds and foreign worlds, or conceal something which lurks behind the pages before sliding into view. Here we round up the best classic and modern short story collections that should be on everyone's radar, whether you're looking to get more into the form or discover some hidden gems.

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

wells tower everything ravaged everything burned book jacket

When it was first published in 2009, this debut short story collection by the American writer Wells Tower was something of a sensation. Here was a practitioner who seemed to have sprung fresh out of the traps already in possession of an innate mastery of his form: a gift for shaping intriguing, funny and occasionally devastating tales – about disaffected American schoolboys and disaffected marauding Vikings alike – which contained laser-sighted observations about human behaviour. Over a decade later, Towers’ book has lost none of its power or its poise.

Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor

complete stories by flannery oconnor book jacket

It is hard to underplay the legacy of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, of which she wrote 32 in her relatively brief life (she died of lupus at 39, in 1964). Winning the National Book Award for Fiction for this collection (posthumously) in 1972 might be one of them, though in 2009 it was named the best book ever to have won the award (commiserations to John Cheever and Eudora Welty). A devout Catholic with an ear for the sardonic who came to epitomise the Southern Gothic, Flannery’s world view, once deemed progressive, has come under closer scrutiny of late – particularly around race – but for understanding the development of the short story in mid-century America this collection is essential.

Pastoralia by George Saunders

pastoralia by george saunders jacket

If there’s one thing that George Saunders nails in his short stories (and there’s not one, there are many) it’s his imaginative eye for the absurd. Thus the title story of Pastoralia , his second short story collection, published in 2000, is an account of the inner neuroses of a failing father with difficult co-workers, who just so happens not to work for an accountancy firm, but for a nightmarish evolution-of-mankind-themed visitor attraction at which he earns his living by grunting like a caveman and pretending to eat bugs. It’s typical of the pathos and humour that Saunders is so good at eliciting, so that even the bleakest, most ridiculous scenarios are still infused with delight.

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So


The Central Valley of California is the backdrop of this psychedelic debut from Anthony Veasna So, a Cambodian-American writer who tragically died before the book was published. In it, So tells tales that ricochet between being tenderly moving and darkly amusing, drawing on his own race and sexuality to create characters with many different, and sometimes clashing, identities.

[An earlier version of this entry included incorrect information about the circumstances of the author's death.]

Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery

show them a good time

The buzzy debut from Irish writer Nicole Flattery inspired a bidding war ahead of its publication in 2019, and reading the collection it feels as though she has inhaled the absurdity this strange collective moment and let it out in one steady plumes. One story finds a woman maniacally dating during an apocalypse, while another watches a plucky teenage girl trying to seduce her parent's builder by watching The Exorcist together.

Objects of Desire by Clare Sestanovich

objects of desire

In eleven distinct but spiritually interwoven stories, New Yorker editor Clare Sestanovich finds women at different crossroads in their lives. In the title story, a woman finds herself unable to move on from her ex and questioning the life she has built since leaving him, while another focuses on a woman who finds herself on the outskirts of a polyamorous relationship, berating herself for not being in the middle of the action.

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

filthy animals

Brandon Taylor's electric novel Real Life, which offered a Black perspective on the pernicious yet subtle racism entrenched in American college life, earned him a Booker Prize nomination in 2020. His next work is a collection of linked short stories set in the Midwest, including an outbreak of violence amongst a group of teenagers, a girl who pushes her babysitter to the edge, and a man in a precarious open relationship with two dancers.

You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South

you will never be forgotten

As the dismembered body which features on the cover might suggest, Mary South's pitch-black collection of stories is not exactly a jolly read. Here you'll find Black Mirror- esque tales about a moderator for grim online videos of suicide and beheadings, a rehabilitation camp for internet trolls where one guest goes astray, and the tale of an architect who finds her work inspired by her daughter's birth defect. An alluring collection of stories about the ways our pain manifests and the polarised world we live in.

Daddy by Emma Cline


The author of the best-selling The Girls, inspired by the Manson family and killing of Sharon Tate, finds equally dark territory in this collection of stories about who holds power between men and women, adults and children. In one story we visit a family at Christmas time who are trying to move past the abuse of the father figure, while in another a violent incident brings a father and son together. Cline's understanding of the darkness inside human beings bringing each story to life.

Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg

deborah eisenberg

This acclaimed collection of six stories, the first release from Eisenberg in 12 years, is brilliantly droll and crackling with life. Whether dismantling our relationship with money or the lasting wounds which grief leaves us on, Your Duck is My Duck is both moving and amusing.

Sam The Cat by Matthew Klam

sam the cat

The Office Of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

office of historical corrections

This celebrated 2020 collection is an exploration of race which takes you on a journey alongside the conflicted characters which Evans presents. From the story of a white university student who finds that a photograph in which she's wearing a Confederate flag bikini has gone viral, to the tale of how a wedding takes an unexpected twist, Evans tiptoes through uncomfortable topics with enjoyable and impressive results.

To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss

nicole krauss

Krauss, author of acclaimed novels such as Man Walks Into a Room and The History of Love, here takes the long view of life. These stories connect a moment in a girl's adolescence to the feeling of youth felt by a woman in later life, linking up the sons, husbands and friends in a woman's life to question the differences between the sexes.

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld


In an age rife with hustles and scams, Sittenfeld's You Think It I'll Say It looks not at those trying to con us, but at the acts of self-deception we engage in. Whether that means the ways which we misread other people or our tendencies to unknowingly dupe ourselves, these ten stories feel timeless yet knowing of the current zeitgeist.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Shoulder, Text, Joint, Font, Poster, Neck, Chest, Back,

The debut book from Machado explores the various violences inflicted in women's bodies, her writing walking a tightrope between the erotic and horrific, the amusing and the macabre. In 'The Husband Stitch' she explores the body-wrenching pain of labour and the joke of men asking the surgeon for an extra stitch when putting their wife back together, while 'Eight Bites' digs into the fairytale promises of weight-loss transformation.

Grand Union by Zadie Smith

Font, Text, Poster, Logo, Graphics, Brand, Graphic design,

Having mastered the novel and essay formats, British literary stalwart Zadie Smith turned her pen to short stories in 2019. The 19 different tales in Grand Union are sprawling in their reach, touching on everything from single motherhood to the free speech debate in universities, objectifying men to the urban myth of Michael Jackson leaving New York with friends on the morning of 9/11, all told in Smith's commanding prose.

Bad Behaviour by Mary Gaitskill

Text, Font, Poster, Adaptation, Stock photography, Photography, Black-and-white, Album cover, Illustration, Art,

Long, long before Phoebe Waller-Bridge caused a stir with Fleabag , Mary Gaitskill was dissecting the power dynamics of sex and relationships between men and women with her intense tone of voice. Bad Behaviour burns with longing and passion, from stories about ex partners haunting a city to a woman waiting for a date to show up while he watches her from across the street. These stories are uncomfortable, prescient and fascinating.

Florida by Lauren Groff

Best short stories

Snakes, crocodiles and lizards stalk the pages of this 2018 collection from one of America's most celebrated novelists, in which the muggy, murky state of Florida is always a principle character. Groff's mastery of language, plot and dialogue are on full display in a set of stories that linger long after you've closed the last page.

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

junot diaz

In his unmistakably brash style, Díaz pulls you into the life of his recurring protagonist Yunior at the point of his break-up with his long-term girlfriend, then when a woman that comes into his life fleetingly then dumps him and an older woman he has an affair with who becomes his teacher. Despite the message of how flawed our relationships are, Díaz reminds us that “ love, real love, is not so easily shed.”

The Love Object by Edna O'Brien

Best short stories

One of great modern Irish writers, this 2014 collection spans five decades of brilliance from O'Brien whose prose style is among the most revered of any living author. Her characters range from lonely nuns to single mothers to modern millionaires and are consistently brilliantly.

Miranda Collinge is the Deputy Editor of Esquire, overseeing editorial commissioning for the brand. With a background in arts and entertainment journalism, she also writes widely herself, on topics ranging from Instagram fish to psychedelic supper clubs, and has written numerous cover profiles for the magazine including Cillian Murphy, Rami Malek and Tom Hardy.

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Penguin Random House

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The Best Short Stories 2022

The O. Henry Prize Winners

Edited by Valeria Luiselli Series edited by Jenny Minton Quigley

Part of the o. henry prize collection, category: literary fiction | short stories.

Sep 13, 2022 | ISBN 9780593467541 | 5-3/16 x 8 --> | ISBN 9780593467541 --> Buy

Sep 13, 2022 | ISBN 9780593467558 | ISBN 9780593467558 --> Buy

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About The Best Short Stories 2022

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The prestigious annual story anthology includes prize-winning stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lorrie Moore, Olga Tokarczuk, Joseph O’Neill, and Samanta Schweblin. “Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” — The Atlantic Monthly C ontinuing a century-long tradition of cutting-edge literary excellence, this year’s edition contains twenty prizewinning stories chosen from the thousands published in magazines over the previous year. Guest editor Valeria Luiselli has brought her own refreshing perspective to the prize, selecting stories by an engaging mix of celebrated names and emerging voices and including stories in translation from Bengali, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. The winning stories are accompanied by an introduction by Luiselli, observations from the winning writers on what inspired them, and an extensive resource list of magazines that publish short fiction. AN ANCHOR BOOKS ORIGINAL. THE WINNING STORIES: “Screen Time,” by Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell “The Wolves of Circassia,” by Daniel Mason “Mercedes’s Special Talent,” by Tere Dávila, translated from the Spanish by Rebecca Hanssens-Reed “Rainbows,” by Joseph O’Neill “A Way with Bea,” by Shanteka Sigers “Seams,” by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft   “The Little Widow from the Capital,” by Yohanca Delgado “Lemonade,” by Eshkol Nevo, translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston   “Breastmilk,” by ‘Pemi Aguda “The Old Man of Kusumpur,” by Amar Mitra, translated from the Bengali by Anish Gupta “Where They Always Meet,” by Christos Ikonomou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich “Fish Stories,” by Janika Oza “Horse Soup,” by Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Max Lawton “Clean Teen,” by Francisco González “Dengue Boy,” by Michel Nieva, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer “Zikora,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “Apples,” by Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson   “Warp and Weft,” by David Ryan “Face Time,” by Lorrie Moore “An Unlucky Man,” by Samanta Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

Also in The O. Henry Prize Collection

The Best Short Stories 2023

Also by Valeria Luiselli

Lost Children Archive

About Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa, and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of… More about Valeria Luiselli

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“Widely regarded as the nation’s most prestigious awards for short fiction.” — The Atlantic Monthly “These stories surprise and illuminate.” — Publishers Weekly

Table Of Contents

Foreword by Jenny Minton Quigley, series editor Introduction by Valeria Luiselli, guest editor “Screen Time,” by Alejandro Zambra , translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell “The Wolves of Circassia,” by Daniel Mason “Mercedes’s Special Talent,” by Tere Dávila , translated from the Spanish by Rebecca Hanssens-Reed “Rainbows,” by Joseph O’Neill “A Way with Bea,” by Shanteka Sigers “Seams,” by Olga Tokarczuk , translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft   “The Little Widow from the Capital,” by Yohanca Delgado “Lemonade,” by Eshkol Nevo , translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston   “Breastmilk,” by ‘Pemi Aguda “The Old Man of Kusumpur,” by Amar Mitra , translated from the Bengali by Anish Gupta “Where They Always Meet,” by Christos Ikonomou , translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich “Fish Stories,” by Janika Oza “Horse Soup,” by Vladimir Sorokin , translated from the Russian by Max Lawton “Clean Teen,” by Francisco González “Dengue Boy,” by Michel Nieva , translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer “Zikora,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “Apples,” by Gunnhild Øyehaug , translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson   “Warp and Weft,” by David Ryan “Face Time,” by Lorrie Moore “An Unlucky Man,” by Samanta Schweblin , translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

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Lifestyles of the Rich, Damaged and Totally Despicable

Three dazzling new short-story collections rattle and shake with horror and heartbreak.

Credit... John Gall

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By Samantha Hunt

  • March 25, 2022

By the end of BEING HERE (160 pp., University Press of Kentucky, $21.95), the discrete gossamer threads of Manini Nayar’s linked stories have become entangled in our minds, by beautiful design. The secret tunnels that connect these pieces are where this slim volume holds its intensity — the way the recurring character Nina, an Indian immigrant to the United States, can hold within her a pregnancy, a marriage, her mother’s voice, memories of her faraway home, the reverberations of both colonialism in India and terrorism in America.

Though it’s presented as a collection, “Being Here” ends up reading like a generational novel, with twisting strands of DNA. In the Indian immigrant communities Nayar describes, from the Himalayan foothills to Manhattan to South Bend, Ind., connections thin with geographical distance. Nayar tests how far familial relationships can stretch before breaking.

Through multiple stories and perspectives, Nina stays close. Once in America, the young bride lives through cancer, divorce and worse. Her family story requires this fragmented telling: Broken hearts must be told in broken ways. Nayar reassembles the pieces while leaving the stunning cracks still visible.

And the stories outside of Nina’s world fall into place around her: the man who murdered his young wife in India and now dines with a racist white woman in New York; the charming uncle who steals jewelry from his own family; the snobbish, mourning mother who is also a colonial apologist; a runaway child; the Indian American immigrant who conflates 7-Elevens with 9/11. Nayar makes even the tangential reappearances feel epic. In “Tintinnabulations,” the driver of a used red Ferrari can feel the spirit of its former owner, who dies in a crash elsewhere in the book. “Something of its provenance remained in the chassis,” Nayar writes, “causing James Hanrahan to brake and look over his shoulder sharply one September afternoon while he was driving to Chicago, as if he sensed a presence there.” With this collection Nayar reveals the invisible details that unite us, even if we are “not around to witness any part of these brief convergences and eddies, carried lightly into history, now insubstantial as air.”

Megan Mayhew Bergman’s HOW STRANGE A SEASON (282 pp., Scribner, $26.99) is a collection of horror stories couched in the glittering worlds of privilege: Lifestyles of the Rich, Permanently Damaged and Totally Despicable. The women who haunt these pages — former beauties, former athletes, formerly full of potential — have been kneecapped by the patriarchy. Raised on a system whose perks they’ve enjoyed, they’ve been bred to breed, to protect entrenched hierarchies. Mothers parade daughters on marriage circuits — cocktail parties and country clubs — hoping to catch a big one. Money has corroded these minds.

The men are also contemptible. They pay to go on a “Big Dig” and spend the day operating dude-size Tonka trucks, unearthing planted loot. They steal, drink, hurt women. They do nothing. With inherited wealth, they shirk the responsibilities of fatherhood and marriage. They are along for the ride, unable to stop or even acknowledge the evil that years of sexism, racism and capitalism have wrought.

Even the characters who engage in art or ecology do so frivolously, like dilettantes. A floral artist creates tremendous and tremendously expensive installations only to see them rot in a day or two. A college student named Lily takes a job as an environmental activist charged with persuading coastal North Carolinians to eat the invasive (and poisonous) lionfish. Wade, an older, trust-funded drunk, spells out the truth: “You’re trying to tell these poor folks how to fix a rich folks’ problem.” Wade is a specialist in guilt. “He ties himself to the front of the pier when the storms come in,” as a way of making amends “for his family owning all that land and enslaving people.” A local cashier notes, “I just don’t think that’s how asking for forgiveness is done.”

Most disturbing is the novella “Indigo Run.” On a South Carolina plantation in the 1950s, marriages and families are crumbling. The land itself is toxic, having been made productive by enslaved people’s labor. Bergman’s characters have upheld noxious traditions for so long that poison tastes like love; and the only character left standing hopes, sympathetically, that a terrible storm or raging fire will someday burn it all down.

For the South Indian immigrants in Sindya Bhanoo’s tender and precise debut, SEEKING FORTUNE ELSEWHERE (226 pp., Catapult, $26) , life happens somewhere between Pittsburgh, Washington State and Bangalore. Though the view is broad, Bhanoo’s focus is clear and tightly observed, centering the decisions and difficulties of a global life, some of them gut-wrenching. In the epigraph, Bhanoo quotes Michael Ondaatje’s “The English Patient”: “Do you understand the sadness of geography?” After reading these stories, we do.

Bhanoo’s characters are outsiders twice. These are immigrants with comfortable lives in America who, for various reasons, now find themselves evicted from their hard-won sense of belonging. These ruptures are the heart of Bhanoo’s tales. A professor hosts homesick Indian graduate students at his house for dinners and holidays, until he learns from a local reporter that some students now “claim you made them do personal work for you against their will, that you never paid them.” An estranged mother who left her daughter in the care of her ex-husband attends that daughter’s wedding, only to discover almost everyone else at the ceremony has been invited on the couple’s “buddymoon” except for her. There is the teenage girl whose father has left home to pursue a life as a popular “spiritual leader and scholar-mystic,” paying more attention to his devoted, if deluded, followers than he pays to his own daughter.

And in the O. Henry Prize-winning story “Malliga Homes,” we meet a widow who’s just moved into a senior residence outside Coimbatore, India. “No amount of expensive stone or carefully worded praise from my daughter can change what Malliga Homes is,” she says: “a place for those who have nowhere else to go.” The widow surprises herself by blurting out to her fellow community members — older Indian parents whose grown children live abroad — that Kamala, her own daughter in Atlanta, “plans to remodel our old flat in Chennai and live there.” It is both a lie and a dream of the way her life used to be.

These stories rattle and shake with the heartache of separation, rendering palpable the magnitude of small decisions in our less-than-small world.

BEING THERE Stories By Manini Nayar 160 pp. University Press of Kentucky. $21.95.

HOW STRANGE A SEASON Fiction By Megan Mayhew Bergman 282 pp. Scribner. $26.99.

SEEKING FORTUNE ELSEWHERE Stories By Sindya Bhanoo 226 pp. Catapult. $26.

Samantha Hunt is the author of “The Unwritten Book” and “The Dark Dark,” among other titles.

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Electric Lit’s Favorite Short Story Collections of 2022

best short story 2022

Reading Lists

Collections by ling ma, k-ming chang, jonathan escoffery, and morgan talty shine among the year’s best.

best short story 2022

When it comes to short fiction, the past year has been filled to the brim with stellar collections that have opened our eyes and hearts to worlds beyond the one we inhabit. These stories are liminal, surreal, and global. They celebrate families—both chosen and biological—as well as ambition, desire, myths, and the bodies that house and protect us. Broken hearts are portrayed with compassion and care, even when they aren’t mended. Characters time travel, both forward and backward, and friendship is held in the highest esteem. You’ll race through these stories, unable to put them down, and you’ll be smarter, more imaginative, for having read them. 

Here are Electric Literature’s top four short story collections, all of which tied with the same number of votes, followed by additional favorites listed in alphabetical order.

The Top Four Short Story Collections of the Year 

Bliss montage by ling ma.

Bliss Montage explores the surreal and uncanny in true Ling Ma fashion with its brilliant, striking prose and memorable characters. While cohesive in voice and vision, the eight stories that make up this collection are wildly distinct, ranging from the messy ethics of storytelling as a young Chinese American pursues an M.F.A. to a tale about a woman who lives in Los Angeles with one hundred of her ex-boyfriends. As Ma discussed in her interview with EL’s Alyssa Songsiridej , the story premises were largely inspired by dreams: “I was trying to combine the swampy intelligence of dreams with narrative logic and see where that took me.”

Gods of Want by K-Ming Chang

Centering myth, memories, bodies, desire, and relationships between Asian women, Gods of Want is an astonishing debut story collection. Chang’s writing, as seen in her highly acclaimed debut novel Bestiary , is whip-smart, funny, and continually surprising and enthralling at the sentence level. The sixteen stories explore themes of hunger, family, queerness, transformation, and diaspora with vividness and delicate nuance. Get a taste of this brilliant collection by reading “Xífù” , published in Recommended Reading. 

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery 

Jonathan Escoffery’s vibrant debut collection of linked stories (longlisted for the National Book Award!) follows a Jamaican American family in Miami in the 1970s as they deal with the aftermath of hurricane Andrew and the many other obstacles and heartache life throws their way. The stories beautifully explore relationships between fathers and sons and questions of identity, social mobility, belonging, and forgiveness. In “Pestilence” , brothers Trelawny and Delano take it upon themselves to exterminate the pests in their neighborhood of Cutler Ridge only to have the neighborhood, and their family, be plagued by much bigger problems. Read more about this wonderful collection in EL’s interview with Escoffery here . 

Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty 

Set on the Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is composed of twelve incredibly crafted stories that explore the particularities of boyhood, intergenerational trauma, and grief with a voice that feels both fresh and deeply truthful . The stories are linked through the character of David, a Penobscot boy living on the reservation, and his brazen and loving voice that illuminates life and death in this changing community. Experience the brilliant tenderness of this collection by reading “Smokes Last” , which was one of Recommended Reading’s most-read stories of the year! 

Electric Lit’s Other Favorite Short Story Collections

A calm and normal heart by chelsea t. hicks.

A Calm and Normal Heart is a sharp and often-surprising debut story collection that illuminates the lives and desires of contemporary Native women. The twelve stories that make up this collection reckon with questions of belonging and home, asking what these promises hold, especially when one is of an identity that is constantly pigeonholed or overlooked. In an EL conversation between Chelsea T. Hicks and Morgan Talty , Hicks discusses her process and intentions behind writing her debut. Riveting and full of imagination, this collection is full of smart wit and deeply tender characters who pull the reader in from the first page.

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung

Translated from Korean by Anton Hur, this genre-defying collection by Bora Chung blurs the lines between magical realism, horror, and science fiction. The strange and thought-provoking stories in Cursed Bunny explore the cruelties of capitalism, patriarchy, and other modern injustices in prose that is both chilling and absurdly funny. Experience the originality of Chung’s style by reading  “The Frozen Finger” recently published in Recommended Reading ! 

Dead-End Memories by Banana Yoshimoto 

First published in Japan in 2003 and translated into English by Asa Yoneda, Dead-End Memories tells the story of five women who each have experienced unexpected, painful events and are working their way towards healing and recovery. Yoshimoto gracefully explores the beauties and sorrows of everyday life, offering an overall feeling of hope and gentleness that is refreshing in our current times. In 2018, Recommended Reading published Yoshimoto’s story “A Strange Tale From Down by the River.” 

Entry Level by Wendy Wimmer

Wendy Wimmer’s debut story collection is composed of fifteen stories centered around everyday characters just trying to navigate life’s everyday obstacles and cruelties. Both hilarious and heartfelt, Entry Level explores the real and surreal in prose that is surprising, vivid, and unafraid to engage with big topics such as class, gender, and race with delicacy and emotional precision. The story “Ghosting” from this collection was Recommended Reading ’s most read story of the year! 

Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

Following two friends Fiona Lin and Jane Shen from childhood to womanhood, Jean Chen Ho’s debut linked story collection is an intimate portrait of friendship, sexuality, identity, and heartache spanning two decades. The stories are told nonlinearly and occupy a wide array of points of view, creating a full and nuanced portrait of the main characters. All of Chen’s characters are so real and complex that readers will be thinking about them long after the collection concludes. Recommended Reading was thrilled to publish “Kenji’s Notebook” from Fiona and Jane back in January. Read the story here.

Heartbroke by Chelsea Bieker

Set in California’s Central Valley, Heartbroke is a moving short story collection that balances heartache and humor in understated yet lively prose. The characters in this collection are brimming with desire—to be loved, to be seen, and to be on better footing than they currently are. Bieker’s compassion for her characters is felt on the page, even though she may not mend their broken hearts. Read the stunning story “Fact of Body” from the collection, published in Recommended Reading . 

Liberation Day by George Saunders

New work by George Saunders is always cause for celebration, and Liberation Day is no different. Saunders’ newest story collection is made up of nine stories written in the trademark Saunders style we’ve come to know and love—hilarious, weird, morally complex, and deeply heartfelt. The stories explore ideas of power, ethics, and justice while taking readers to unexpected places: a Hell-themed underground amusement park, the middle of a hailstorm, a years-long brainwashing scheme. Fiercely funny and compassionate, Saunders remains one of the best in the game.  

Manywhere by Morgan Thomas

Morgan Thomas’s debut collection Manywhere features nine dazzling short stories that center the experiences of Southern queer and genderqueer characters. Thomas’s writing is elegant and kaleidoscopic, exploring themes of desire and belonging through vibrant interiority and stories that delve into the past, present, and future. Recommended Reading had the pleasure of publishing two of their stories, “Alta’s Place” , and “ The Daring Life of Phillipa Cook ”, from the collection. 

Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman

Longlisted for the National Book Award, Nobody Gets Out Alive is an exhilarating collection set in Alaska that features women struggling to survive. Newman’s characters face the natural world, but also the wildness of interpersonal relationships that make up a marriage, a family, and everyday life. Psychologically rich and well-crafted, this collection is perfect for lovers of adventure and complex realism. Experience the elegance and electricity of this collection by reading “Valley of the Moon” , and “ An Extravaganza in Two Acts” , both published in Recommended Reading. 

Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin

A highly anticipated debut, Rainbow Rainbow is a vibrant, heartfelt, and incredibly crafted collection about queer people navigating the the rocky terrain of growing up, seeking connection, and merely existing in the modern world. Ranging from middle school to adulthood, Conklin’s characters are endearingly awkward, misguided, funny, and intelligent, their interiority beautifully rendered. In an EL interview with Jessika Bovier, Conklin discusses their work and the multiplicity of queerness and transness.   You can also read “Laramie Time” , the first story in their collection, in Recommended Reading. 

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere by Sindya Bhanoo

This rich debut collection of short stories by Sindya Bhanoo explores the complex and diverse experiences of South Asian immigrants in prose that is beautifully detailed and full of emotional truth. Spanning many geographical settings, from Pittsburgh to Eastern Washington to Tamil Nadu, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere considers diaspora and displacement and how characters grapple with what is missing or left behind. Recommended Reading published the beautifully wrenching  “Nature Exchange” from the collection in February.

Self-Portrait With Ghost by Meng Jin

Moving between San Francisco and China, realism and the surreal, the ten stories in Self-Portrait With Ghost are page turning and thought provoking. Jin’s writing is intoxicating and elegant, exploring the lives of women who are complex and often contradictory, capturing the richness of their interiority with precision and pathos. Read “Phillip is Dead” from the collection, published in Recommended Reading. 

Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby

As Rachel Yoder wrote her in introduction to Gwen Kirby’s story “Here Preached His Last” (one of Recommended Reading ’s most popular stories of 2022), Kirby writes vibrant and refreshing stories that “undo how a woman should be and instead articulate how women are, in all their greedy, horny, callous, messy, exuberant glory.” Shit Cassandra Saw explores the lives of mythic women from the past and present in stories that are smart, playful, expected, and a true delight to experience. Learn more about the collection by reading EL’s interview with Kirby in which she discusses her process and the stupidity of the patriarchy.  

Stories From the Tenants Downstairs by Sadik Fofana

Set in a Harlem high rise, this collection explores the tangled lives of Banneker Terrace tenants in eight interconnected stories. The characters in this collection are under pressure, whether emotionally, financially, or socially, and Fofana inhabits each character with equal vibrancy and compassion. In turns humorous and heartfelt, Stories From the Tenants Downstairs takes the idea of a linked story collection to new and deeply enjoyable places. Read “Tumble” from the collection, published in Recommended Reading . 

The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz

Primarily set in the 1980s in small towns surrounding Fresno, The Consequences explores the lives of Mexican and Mexican American farmworkers and the struggles and tenderness that make up their everyday lives. Full of nuance and heart, Muñoz’s writing is honest and unforgettable, marking him as a master storyteller. Read Muñoz’s beautiful story “Compromisos” about family, desire, and sacrifice. 

Tomorrow in Shanghai by May-Lee Chai

In vibrant and illuminating prose, Tomorrow in Shanghai explores the Chinese diaspora and the complexity of family, belonging, and yearning. In one story, a doctor harvests organs to fund a wedding and a promising future for a family. In another, a white mother and her biracial daughter visit France and struggle to connect due to their fraught relationship. The characters in these stories are complex and vivid, Chai’s collection a testament to the multi-faceted experiences of characters living in an increasingly globalized world. 

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best short story 2022

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The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners

The prestigious annual story anthology, now in its second year with a new guest editor format, includes stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lorrie Moore, Olga Tokarczuk, Joseph O'Neill, and Samanta Schweblin.

The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners— continuing a century-long tradition of cutting-edge literary excellence—contains twenty prizewinning stories chosen from the thousands published in magazines over the previous year. Guest editor Valeria Luiselli has brought her own refreshing perspective to the prize, selecting stories by an engaging mix of celebrated names and emerging voices, and including translations from seven different languages. The winning stories are accompanied by an introduction by Luiselli, observations from the winning writers on what inspired them, and an extensive resource list of magazines that publish short fiction.

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2022 Short Fiction Collections

best short story 2022

Here is a list of 73 short fiction collections and anthologies that will be arriving on shelves in 2022!

If you are a short story author and you would like your collection on this list, contact me .


best short story 2022

Fiona and Jane

By jean chen ho (jan 4).

A witty, warm, and irreverent book that traces the lives of two young Taiwanese American women as they navigate friendship, sexuality, identity, and heartbreak over two decades.

Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.

In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back. Spanning countries and selves,  Fiona and Jane  is an intimate portrait of a friendship, a deep dive into the universal perplexities of being young and alive, and a bracingly honest account of two Asian women who dare to stake a claim on joy in a changing, contemporary America. (Viking)

best short story 2022

Seasonal Work

By laura lippman (jan 4).

In a suspenseful collection of stories featuring fierce women—including one never-before-published novella —New York Times  bestseller Laura Lippman showcases why she is one of today’s top crime writers.

In the never-before-published “Just One More,” a married couple—longing for that old romantic spark—creates a playful diversion that comes with unexpected consequences.

Lippman’s beloved Baltimore PI Tess Monaghan keeps a watchful eye on a criminally resourceful single father in “Seasonal Work,” while her mother, Judith, realizes that the life of “The Everyday Housewife”   is an excellent cover for all kinds of secrets. In “Slow Burner,” a husband’s secret cell phone proves to be a dicey temptation for a suspicious wife. A father’s hidden past piques the curiosity of a young snoop in “The Last of Sheila-Locke Holmes.”

Plus seven other brilliantly crafted stories of deception, murder, dangerous games, and love gone wrong—irrefutable evidence that Laura Lippman’s riveting fiction will more than satisfy any crime reader. (William Morrow)

best short story 2022

A Deadly Affair: Unexpected Love Stories from the Queen of Mystery

By agatha christie (jan 4).

From the Queen of Mystery—this all-new collection of stories about love gone horribly wrong will get your heart racing.

Love can propel us to our greatest heights . . . and darkest depths. In this new compendium of Agatha Christie short stories, witness the dark side of love—crimes of passion, games of the heart, and deadly deceits. This pulse-pounding compendium features beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, master of charades Parker Pyne, the enigmatic Harley Quin, and the adventurous Tommy and Tuppence, all at the ready to solve tantalizing mysteries.

In “The Face of Helen,” a night at the Royal Opera could reach a fatal crescendo for a woman caught in a dicey love triangle; “Finessing the King” delivers a curious ad in the personals that could mask sinister intentions; who’s in danger of getting stung in “Wasps’ Nest” depends on rounding up suspects and solving a murder—before it even happens. These are just a few of the tales in this collection featuring essential reading that Christie fans old and new will simply love to death.

best short story 2022

Shit Cassandra Saw

By gwen kirby (jan 11).

Margaret Atwood meets Buffy in these funny, warm, and furious stories of women at their breaking points, from Hellenic times to today. Cassandra may have seen the future, but it doesn’t mean she’s resigned to telling the Trojans everything she knows. In this ebullient collection, virgins escape from being sacrificed, witches refuse to be burned, whores aren’t ashamed, and every woman gets a chance to be a radioactive cockroach warrior who snaps back at catcallers. Gwen E. Kirby experiments with found structures–a Yelp review, a WikiHow article–which her fierce, irreverent narrators push against, showing how creativity within an enclosed space undermines and deconstructs the constraints themselves. When these women tell the stories of their triumphs as well as their pain, they emerge as funny, angry, loud, horny, lonely, strong protagonists who refuse to be secondary characters a moment longer. From “The Best and Only Whore of Cym Hyfryd, 1886” to the “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories,” Kirby is playing and laughing with the women who have come before her and they are telling her , we have always been this way. You just had to know where to look. (Penguin)

best short story 2022

by Saba Sams (Jan 20)

In ten dazzling stories, Saba Sams dives into the world of girlhood and immerses us in its contradictions and complexities: growing up too quickly, yet not quickly enough; taking possession of what one can, while being taken possession of; succumbing to societal pressure but also orchestrating that pressure. These young women are feral yet attentive, fierce yet vulnerable, exploited yet exploitative.

Threading between clubs at closing time, pub toilets, drenched music festivals and beach holidays, these unforgettable short stories deftly chart the treacherous terrain of growing up – of intense friendships, of ambivalent mothers, of uneasily blended families, and of learning to truly live in your own body.

With striking wit, originality and tenderness,  Send Nudes  celebrates the small victories in a world that tries to claim each young woman as its own. (Bloomsbury)

best short story 2022

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century

By kim fu (jan 25).

In the twelve unforgettable tales of  Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century , the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steal a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time; an insomniac is seduced by the Sandman. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, and unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.  

Mesmerizing, electric, and wholly original, Kim Fu’s  Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century  blurs the boundaries of the real and fantastic, offering intricate and surprising insights into human nature. (Coach House Books)

best short story 2022

by Morgan Thomas (Jan 25)

The nine stories in Morgan Thomas’s shimmering debut collection witness Southern queer and genderqueer characters determined to find themselves reflected in the annals of history, whatever the cost. As Thomas’s subjects trace deceit and violence through Southern tall tales and their own pasts, their journeys reveal the porous boundaries of body, land, and history, and the sometimes ruthless awakenings of self-discovery.

A trans woman finds her independence with the purchase of a pregnancy bump; a young Virginian flees their relationship, choosing instead to immerse themself in the life of an intersex person from Colonial-era Jamestown. A writer tries to evade the murky and violent legacy of an ancestor who supposedly disappeared into a midwifery bag, and in the uncanny title story, a young trans person brings home a replacement daughter for their elderly father.

Winding between reinvention and remembrance, transition and transcendence, these origin stories resound across centuries. With warm, meticulous emotional intelligence, Morgan Thomas uncovers how the stories we borrow to understand ourselves in turn shape the people we become. Ushering in a new form of queer mythmaking,  Manywhere  introduces a storyteller of uncommon range and talent. (MCD Books)

best short story 2022

Mestiza Blood

By v castro (jan 25).

A short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions centered around the Chicana experience. The stunning, star-reviewed V. Castro weaves urban legend, folklore, life experience and heartache in this intimate anthology of modern horrors.

From the lauded author of  The Queen of the Cicadas  (which picked up starred reviews from  PW ,  Kirkus  and  Booklist  who called her “a dynamic and innovative voice”) comes a short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions focused on the Chicana experience. V.Castro weaves urban legend, folklore, life experience and heartache in this personal journey beginning in south Texas: a bar where a devil dances the night away; a street fight in a neighborhood that may not have been a fight after all; a vengeful chola at the beginning of the apocalypse; mind swapping in the not so far future; satan who falls and finds herself in a brothel in Amsterdam; the keys to Mictlan given to a woman after she dies during a pandemic. The collection finishes with two longer tales:  The Final Porn Star  is a twist on the final girl trope and slasher, with a creature from Mexican folklore; and  Truck Stop  is an erotic horror romance with two hearts: a video store and a truck stop. (Flame Tree Press)

best short story 2022

Thank You, Mr. Nixon

By gish jen (jan 25).

The acclaimed, award-winning author of  The Resisters  takes measure of the fifty years since the opening of China and its unexpected effects on the lives of ordinary people. It is a unique book that only Jen could write—a story collection accruing the power of a novel as it proceeds—a work that Cynthia Ozick has called “an art beyond art. It is life itself.” Beginning with a cheery letter penned by a Chinese girl in heaven to “poor Mr. Nixon” in hell, Gish Jen embarks on a fictional journey through U.S.-China relations, capturing the excitement of a world on the brink of tectonic change.   Opal Chen reunites with her Chinese sisters after forty years; newly cosmopolitan Lulu Koo wonders why Americans “like to walk around in the woods with the mosquitoes”; Hong Kong parents go to extreme lengths to reestablish contact with their “number-one daughter” in New York; and Betty Koo, brought up on “no politics, just make money,” finds she must reassess her mother’s philosophy.   With their profound compassion and equally profound humor, these eleven linked stories trace the intimate ways in which humans make and are made by history, capturing an extraordinary era in an extraordinary way. Delightful, provocative, and powerful,  Thank You, Mr. Nixon  furnishes yet more proof of Gish Jen’s eminent place among American storytellers. (Knopf)

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best short story 2022

Anonymous Sex

Edited by hillary jordan and cheryl lu-lien tan (feb 1).

27 Authors. 27 Stories. No Names Attached.

A bold collection of stories about sex that leaves you guessing who wrote what.

Bestselling novelists Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan present an elegant, international anthology of erotica that explores the diverse spectrum of desire, written by winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN Awards, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Edgar Award, and more. There are stories of sexual obsession and sexual love, of domination and submission. There’s revenge sex, unrequited sex, funny sex, tortured sex, fairy tale sex, and even sex in the afterlife.

While the authors are listed in alphabetical order at the beginning of the book, none of the stories are attributed, providing readers with a glimpse into an uninhibited landscape of sexuality as explored by twenty-seven of today’s finest authors.

Featuring Robert Olen Butler, Catherine Chung, Trent Dalton, Heidi W. Durrow, Tony Eprile, Louise Erdrich, Jamie Ford, Julia Glass, Peter Godwin, Hillary Jordan, Rebecca Makkai, Valerie Martin, Dina Nayeri, Chigozie Obioma, Téa Obreht, Helen Oyeyemi, Mary-Louise Parker, Victoria Redel, Jason Reynolds, S.J. Rozan, Meredith Talusan, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Jeet Thayil, Paul Theroux, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Edmund White. (Scribner)

best short story 2022

by Toni Morrison (Feb 1)

In this 1983 short story we meet Twyla and Roberta, who have known each other since they were eight years old and spent four months together as roommates in St. Bonaventure shelter. Inseparable then, they lose touch as they grow older, only later to find each other again at a diner, a grocery store, and again at a protest. Seemingly at opposite ends of every problem, and at each other’s throats each time they meet, the two women still cannot deny the deep bond their shared experience has forged between them.   Another work of genius by this masterly writer,  Recitatif  keeps Twyla’s and Roberta’s races ambiguous throughout the story. Morrison herself described  Recitatif , a story which will keep readers thinking and discussing for years to come, as “an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial.” We know that one is white and one is Black, but which is which? And who is right about the race of the woman the girls tormented at the orphanage?   A remarkable look into what keeps us together and what keeps us apart, and how perceptions are made tangible by reality,  Recitatif  is a gift to readers in these changing times. (Knopf Canada)

best short story 2022

Seasons of Purgatory

By shahrlar mandanlpour (feb 3).

In  Seasons of Purgatory , the fantastical and the visceral merge in tales of tender desire and collective violence, the boredom and brutality of war, and the clash of modern urban life and rural traditions. Mandanipour, banned from publication in his native Iran, vividly renders the individual consciousness in extremis from a variety of perspectives: young and old, man and woman, conscript and prisoner. While delivering a ferocious social critique, these stories are steeped in the poetry and stark beauty of an ancient land and culture. (Bellevue Literary Press)

best short story 2022

Blood Feast

By malika moustradaf (feb 8).

Malika Moustadraf (1969–2006) is a feminist icon in contemporary Moroccan literature, celebrated for her stark interrogation of gender and sexuality in North Africa.

Blood Feast  is the complete collection of Moustadraf’s published short fiction: haunting, visceral stories by a master of the genre. A teenage girl suffers through a dystopian rite of passage​,​ a man with kidney disease makes desperate attempts to secure treatment​, and a mother schemes to ensure her daughter passes a virginity test.

Delighting in vibrant sensory detail and rich slang, Moustadraf takes an unflinching look at the gendered body, social class, illness, double standards, and desire, as lived by a diverse cast of characters.  Blood Feast  is a sharp provocation to patriarchal power and a celebration of the life and genius of one of Morocco’s preeminent writers. (The Feminist Press at Cuny)

best short story 2022

Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space

By zoraida córdova (feb 15).

From stories that take you to the stars, to stories that span into other times and realms, to stories set in the magical now,  Reclaim the Stars  takes the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world.

Follow princesses warring in space, haunting ghost stories in Argentina, mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean, swamps that whisper secrets, and many more realms explored and unexplored; this stunning collection of seventeen short stories breaks borders and realms to prove that stories are truly universal.

Reclaim the Stars  features both bestselling and acclaimed authors as well as two new voices in the genres: Vita Ayala, David Bowles, J.C. Cervantes, Zoraida Córdova, Sara Faring, Romina Garber, Isabel Ibañez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Yamile Saied Méndez, Nina Moreno, Circe Moskowitz, Maya Motayne, Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez, Daniel José Older, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro and Lilliam Rivera. (Wednesday Books)

best short story 2022

Life Without Children

By roddy doyle (feb 22).

A brilliantly warm, witty and moving portrait of our pandemic lives, told in ten heart-rending and uplifting short stories.

Love and marriage. Children and family. Death and grief. Life touches everyone the same. But living under lockdown, it changes us alone. In these ten, beautifully moving short stories, Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle paints a collective portrait of our strange times. A man abroad wanders the stag-and-hen-strewn streets of Newcastle, as news of the virus at home asks him to question his next move. An exhausted nurse struggles to let go, having lost a much-loved patient in isolation. A middle-aged son, barred from his mother’s funeral, wakes to an oncoming hangover of regret. Told with Doyle’s signature warmth, wit and extraordinary eye for the richness that underpins the quiet of our lives,  Life Without Children  cuts to the heart of how we are all navigating loss, loneliness and the shifting of history underneath our feet. (Knopf Canada)

best short story 2022

This Here Flesh

By cole arthur riley (feb 22).

“From the womb, we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive. I believe that is what my father wanted for me and knew I would so desperately need: a tool for survival, the truth of my dignity named like a mercy new each morning.”   So writes Cole Arthur Riley in her unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. In these deeply transporting pages, Arthur Riley reflects on the stories of her grandmother and father, and how they revealed to her an embodied, dignity-affirming spirituality, not only in what they believed but in the act of living itself. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, Arthur Riley boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.   At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative,  This Here Flesh  speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us. (Convergent Books)

best short story 2022

by Rawi Hage (Mar 1)

From the internationally acclaimed author of the novels  De Niro’s Game ,  Cockroach ,  Carnival  and  Beirut Hellfire Society , here is a captivating and cosmopolitan collection of stories.

In Montreal, a photographer’s unexpected encounter with actress Sophia Loren leads to a life-altering revelation about his dead mother. In Beirut, a disillusioned geologist eagerly awaits the destruction that will come with an impending tsunami. In Tokyo, a Jordanian academic delivering a lecture at a conference receives haunting news from the Persian Gulf. And in Berlin, a Lebanese writer forms a fragile, fateful bond with his voluble German neighbours.

The irresistible characters in  Stray Dogs  lead radically different lives, but all are restless travelers, moving between states—nation-states and states of mind—seeking connection, escaping the past and following delicate threads of truth, only to experience the sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing and often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed, and reborn. Politically astute, philosophically wise, humane, relevant and caustically funny, these stories reveal the singular vision of award-winning writer Rawi Hage at his best. (Knopf Canada)

best short story 2022

The Last Suspicious Holdout

By ladee hubbard (mar 7).

The critically acclaimed author of  The Rib King  returns with an eagerly anticipated collection of interlocking short stories including the title story written exclusively for this volume, that explore relationships between friends, family and strangers in a Black neighborhood over fifteen years

The twelve gripping tales In  The  Last   Suspicious   Holdout , the new story collection by award-winning author Ladee Hubbard, deftly chronicle poignant moments in the lives of an African American community located in a “sliver of southern suburbia.” Spanning from 1992 to 2007, the stories represent a period during which the Black middle-class expanded while stories of “welfare Queens,” “crack babies,” and “super predators” abounded in the media. In “False Cognates,” a formerly incarcerated attorney struggles with raising the tuition to keep his troubled son in an elite private school. In “There He Go,” a young girl whose mother moves constantly clings to a picture of the grandfather she doesn’t know but invents stories of his greatness. Characters spotlighted in one story reappear in another, providing a stunning testament to the enduring resilience of Black people as they navigate the “post-racial” period  The  Last   Suspicious   Holdout  so vividly portrays. (HarperCollins)

best short story 2022

Lost Worlds & Mythological Kingdoms

Edited by john joseph adams (mar 8).

From  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea  to  Journey to the Center of the Earth , from the fabled island of Avalon to the lost oasis of Zerzura, from  The Land That Time Forgot  to the golden city of El Dorado, storytellers have long imagined what exists beyond the edges of the map.

The need to seek and discover the unknown is embedded in who we are, no matter the culture or era. To celebrate this sense of wonder, award-winning editor John Joseph Adams has gathered together some of the best SF&F writers working today, collecting adventure and mystery in this spectacular anthology. With original contributions from Kate Elliott, Tobias S. Buckell, Dexter Palmer, E. Lily Yu, Jonathan Maberry, and a dozen more, there are short stories sure to enthrall every reader.

Explore the rich tradition begun centuries ago with this all-new compilation full of imagination and delights. What lies beyond the edge of the unknown? Only you, brave reader, can find out. (Grim Oak Press)

best short story 2022

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere

By sindya bhanoo (mar 8).

These intimate stories of South Indian immigrants and the families they left behind center women’s lives and ask how women both claim and surrender power—a stunning debut collection from an O. Henry Prize winner Traveling from Pittsburgh to Eastern Washington to Tamil Nadu, these stories about dislocation and dissonance see immigrants and their families confront the costs of leaving and staying, identifying sublime symmetries in lives growing apart. In “Malliga Homes,” selected by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for an O. Henry Prize, a widow in a retirement community glimpses her future while waiting for her daughter to visit from America. In “No. 16 Model House Road,” a woman long subordinate to her husband makes a choice of her own after she inherits a house. In “Nature Exchange,” a mother grieving in the wake of a school shooting finds an unusual obsession. In “A Life in America,” a professor finds himself accused of having exploited his graduate students.   Sindya Bhanoo’s haunting stories show us how immigrants’ paths, and the paths of those they leave behind, are never simple. Bhanoo takes us along on their complicated journeys where regret, hope, and triumph appear in disguise. (Catapult)

best short story 2022

The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators

By yu chen and regina kanyu wang (mar 8).

From an award-winning team of authors, editors, and translators comes a groundbreaking short story collection that explores the expanse of Chinese science fiction and fantasy. In  The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories , you can dine at a restaurant at the end of the universe, cultivate to immortality in the high mountains, watch roses perform Shakespeare, or arrive at the island of the gods on the backs of giant fish to ensure that the world can bloom. Written, edited, and translated by a female and nonbinary team, these stories have never before been published in English and represent both the richly complicated past and the vivid future of Chinese science fiction and fantasy. Time travel to a winter’s day on the West Lake, explore the very boundaries of death itself, and meet old gods and new heroes in this stunning new collection. (Tordotcom)

best short story 2022


By colin barrett (mar 10).

From the prize-winning author of YOUNG SKINS, comes HOMESICKNESS – a quietly caustic, startlingly beautiful and wonderfully wry new short story collection.

In these eight stories, Barrett takes us back to the barren backwaters of County Mayo, via Toronto, and illuminates the lives of outcasts, misfits and malcontents with an eye for the abrupt and absurd. A quiet night in the neighbourhood pub is shattered by the arrival of a sword wielding fugitive. A funeral party teeters on the edge of this world and the next, as ghosts won’t simply lay in wake. A shooting sees an everyday call-out lead a policewoman to confront the banality of her own existence.

A true follow-up to his electrifying debut collection, HOMESICKNESS marks Colin Barrett out as our most brilliantly original and captivating storyteller. (McClelland & Stewart)

best short story 2022

Animal Stories

By peter and maria hoey (mar 15).

What separates us from animals? What connects us? Award-winning cartoonists Peter and Maria Hoey probe these mysteries across six surreal and interconnected stories. After tremendous acclaim for their series  Coin-Op Comics , two brilliant creators present their first graphic novel: a menagerie of wild tales. Pushing the boundaries of their dazzling and unique narrative style,  Animal Stories  weaves together six short stories exploring the mysterious relationships between humans and other animals. A girl who keeps pigeons starts receiving messages from a new bird in her flock. A ship’s crew rescue a dog, only to find far stranger things in the sea around them. A reincarnated cat with criminal intentions, a parrot who leads a revolution, and a squirrel who tempts a woman in a beautiful garden glade. Drawing inspiration from Aesop’s Fables, film noir, and the Old Testament, Peter and Maria Hoey apply their singular and sophisticated visual storytelling to create a new set of modern animal tales for modern times. (Top Shelf Productions)

best short story 2022

Splendid Anatomies

By allison wyss (mar 15).

The very peculiar and human characters of Splendid Anatomies (short stories) by Allison Wyss live in, on, and far beyond the periphery, learning to love themselves as they claim and reclaim their bodies. They get tattoos, have radical operations, wear prostheses, even dig bloody veins from their legs. They hack themselves to pieces. But then they stitch themselves back up–in ways that are both glorious and painful. These stories, set in the lands of fables, in other universes, and even the Midwest, are grotesque and gory, menacing and magical, sad, funny, and true celebrations of what it means to live. (Veliz Books)

best short story 2022

Reverse Engineering

Edited by scratch books (mar 16).

Seven of the best recent short stories, disassembled by authors Jon McGregor, Sarah Hall, Irenosen Okojie, Chris Power, Jessie Greengrass, Joseph O’Neill, and Mahreen Sohail with an introduction by Tom Conaghan.

This innovative anthology reveals the inspiration, the ideals and the work involved in a great short story. Reverse Engineering brings together contemporary classic stories with their authors’ discussion of how they wrote it.

An essential book for everyone interested in how fiction works. (Scratch Books)

best short story 2022

The Burnished Sun

By miranda riwoe (mar 28).

From the award-winning author of Stone Sky Gold Mountain come these superbly crafted stories that explore the inner lives of those who are often ignored or misunderstood. We follow a migrant mother who yearns to feel welcomed at a kids’ party in a local park; a young skateboarder caught between showing loyalty and being accepted; and an Indonesian maid working far from home who longs for the son she’s left behind. Bookending this collection are two stunning novellas: Annah the Javanese re-imagines the world of one of Paul Gauguin’s models in nineteenth-century Paris, while the highly acclaimed The Fish Girl reworks a classic W Somerset Maugham story from the perspective of a young Indonesian woman. With rich emotional insight and a light touch, these wide-ranging stories reveal hidden desires and human fragility. (University of Queensland Press)

best short story 2022

by Kate Folk (Mar 29)

With a focus on the weird and eerie forces that lurk beneath the surface of ordinary experience, Kate Folk’s debut collection is perfectly pitched to the madness of our current moment. A medical ward for a mysterious bone-melting disorder is the setting of a perilous love triangle. A curtain of void obliterates the globe at a steady pace, forcing Earth’s remaining inhabitants to decide with whom they want to spend eternity. A man fleeing personal scandal enters a codependent relationship with a house that requires a particularly demanding level of care. And in the title story, originally published in  The New Yorker,  a woman in San Francisco uses dating apps to find a partner despite the threat posed by “blots,” preternaturally handsome artificial men dispatched by Russian hackers to steal data. Meanwhile, in a poignant companion piece, a woman and a blot forge a genuine, albeit doomed, connection.  Prescient and wildly imaginative,  Out There  depicts an uncanny landscape that holds a mirror to our subconscious fears and desires. Each story beats with its own fierce heart, and together they herald an exciting new arrival in the tradition of speculative literary fiction. (Random House)

best short story 2022

The Adventurists: and Other Stories

By richard butner (apr 1).

Remember the girl you once knew, the theater kid? Now she’s become the Queen, and you might need to rescue her. There’s the historic house, where someone once saw a ghost and you almost fell in love. An ornithopter hangs in the lobby of your corporate workplace: your co-worker thinks he might be able to operate it. Once you found a tunnel under your old high school, and couldn’t resist going to see where it led.

Sometimes a door will open into a new world, sometimes into the past. Putting on a costume might be the restart you are half hoping for. There are things buried here. You might want to save them. You might want to get out of the way.

Butner’s allusive and elusive stories reach into the uncanny corners of life—where there are no job losses, just HCAPs (Head Count Allocation Procedures), where a tree might talk to just one person, where Death’s Fool is not to be ignored. (Small Beer Press)

best short story 2022

Animal Person

By alexander macleod (apr 5).

From Giller Prize finalist Alexander MacLeod comes a magnificent collection about the needs, temptations, and tensions that exist just beneath the surface of our lives. Named a Canadian Fiction title to watch by the CBC,  Quill & Quire , and 49th Shelf. Featuring stories published in  The New Yorker ,  Granta , and the  O. Henry Prize Stories .

Startling, suspenseful, deeply humane yet alert to the undertow of our darker instincts, the eight stories in  Animal Person  illuminate what it means to exist in the perilous space between desire and action, and to have your faith in what you hold true buckle and give way.

A petty argument between two sisters is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Adjoining motel rooms connect a family on the brink of a new life with a criminal whose legacy will haunt them for years to come. A connoisseur of other people’s secrets is undone by what he finds in a piece of lost luggage. In the wake of a tragic accident, a young man must contend with what is owed to the living and to the dead. And in the O. Henry Award-winning story “Lagomorph,” a man’s relationship with his family’s long-lived pet rabbit opens up to become a profound exploration of how a marriage fractures.

Muscular and tender, beautifully crafted, and alive with an elemental power, these stories explore the struggle for meaning and connection in an age when many of us feel cut off from so much, not least ourselves. This is a collection that beats with raw emotion and shimmers with the complexity of our shared human experience, and it confirms Alexander MacLeod’s reputation as a modern master of the short story. (McClelland & Stewart)

best short story 2022

by Chelsea Bieker (Apr 4)

United by the stark and sprawling landscapes of California’s Central Valley, the characters of  Heartbroke  boil with reckless desire. A woman steals a baby from a shelter in an attempt to recoup her own lost motherhood. A phone-sex operator sees divine opportunity when a lavender-eyed cowboy walks into her life. A mother and a son selling dream catchers along a highway that leads to a toxic beach manifest two young documentary filmmakers into their realm. And two teenage girls play a dangerous online game with destiny.   Heartbroke  brims over with each character’s attempt to salvage grace where they can find it. Told in bright, snapping prose that reveals a world of loss and love underneath, Chelsea Bieker brilliantly illuminates a golden yet gothic world of longing and abandonment under an unrelenting California sun. (Catapult)

best short story 2022

Nobody Gets Out Alive

By leigh newman (apr 12).

From the ​prizewinning, debut fiction author: an exhilarating virtuosic story collection about women navigating the wilds of male-dominated Alaskan society.

Set in Newman’s home state of Alaska,  Nobody Gets Out Alive  is a collection of dazzling, courageous stories about women struggling to survive not just grizzly bears and charging moose but the raw, exhausting legacy of their marriages and families. In “Howl Palace”—winner of  The Paris Review ’s Terry Southern Prize, a Best American Short Story, and Pushcart Prize selection—an aging widow struggles with a rogue hunting dog and the memories of her five ex-husbands while selling her house after bankruptcy. In the title story, “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” newly married Katrina visits her hometown of Anchorage and blows up her own wedding reception by flirting with the host and running off with an enormous mastodon tusk. (Scribner)

best short story 2022

Ezra’s Ghosts

By darcy tamayose (apr 14).

Award-winning author Darcy Tamayose returns with Ezra’s Ghosts, a collection of fantastical stories linked by a complex mingling of language and culture, as well as a deep understanding of grief and what it makes of us.

Within these pages a scholar writes home from the Ryukyu islands, not knowing that his hometown will soon face a deadly calamity of its own. Another seeker of truth is trapped in Ezra after her violent death, and must watch how her family—and her killer—alter in her absence. The oldest man in town, an immigrant who came to Canada to escape imperial hardships, sprouts wings, and a wounded journalist bears witness to his transformation. Finally, past and present collide as a researcher reflects on the recent skinwars that have completely altered the world’s topography. Binding the stories together is an intersect of arrival and departure—in a quiet prairie town called Ezra. (NeWest Press)

best short story 2022

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

By janelle monáe (apr 19).

In  The Memory Librarian:  And Other Stories of  Dirty Computer, s inger-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, futurist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albums ,  exploring how different threads of liberation—queerness, race, gender plurality, and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.

Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborators have crafted a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller.  Dirty Computer  introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether you were human, AI, or other, your life and sentience were dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian society . . . and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the tradition of speculative fiction writers such as Octavia E. Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with powerful themes and Monáe’s emblematic artistic vision— The Memory Librarian  serves to readers tales that dissect the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, reaching through to the worlds of memory and time, and the stakes and power that pulse there. (Harper Voyager)

best short story 2022

Uncertain Kin

By janice lynn mather (apr 19).

For readers of  Frying Plantain  and  Scarborough , a luminous, mesmerizing collection of linked stories about the lives of woman and girls in The Bahamas, from rising literary star and Governor General’s Award–finalist Janice Lynn Mather.

Set against the vivid backdrop of The Bahamas, these eighteen beautiful and haunting stories introduce us to women and girls searching for identity and belonging during moments of profound upheaval. These women are bold and big-hearted, complex and intimately familiar. They grapple with the bonds of kinship and the responsibilities of parenthood, with grief, longing, betrayal, coming of age and what it means to be a woman. In “Mango Summer,” little girls begin disappearing from their beds during one lush, steaming August. In “Morning Swim,” a jogger, newly diagnosed with cancer, makes a sinister discovery on the beach. Nassau wakes up to blood-red water pouring from its taps after a pastor decries witchcraft in “Drinking Water.” In “Boyo,” a woman new to Vancouver struggles to plant roots in a city that doesn’t seem to want her or her young son.   These stories are at once deeply grounded and tinged with folkoric and surreal elements—and all speak to the beauty and brutality of being alive. (Doubleday Canada)

best short story 2022

Buffalo is the New Buffalo

By chelsea vowel (apr 26).

Powerful stories of “Metis futurism” that envision a world without violence, capitalism, or colonization.

“Education is the new buffalo” is a metaphor widely used among Indigenous peoples in Canada to signify the importance of education to their survival and ability to support themselves, as once Plains nations supported themselves as buffalo peoples. The assumption is that many of the pre-Contact ways of living are forever gone, so adaptation is necessary. But Chelsea Vowel asks, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?”

Inspired by classic and contemporary speculative fiction,  Buffalo Is the New Buffalo  explores science fiction tropes through a Metis lens: a Two-Spirit rougarou (shapeshifter) in the nineteenth century tries to solve a murder in her community and joins the nehiyaw-pwat (Iron Confederacy) in order to successfully stop Canadian colonial expansion into the West. A Metis man is gored by a radioactive bison, gaining super strength, but losing the ability to be remembered by anyone not related to him by blood. Nanites babble to babies in Cree, virtual reality teaches transformation, foxes take human form and wreak havoc on hearts, buffalo roam free, and beings grapple with the thorny problem of healing from colonialism.

Indigenous futurisms seek to discover the impact of colonization, remove its psychological baggage, and recover ancestral traditions. These eight short stories of “Metis futurism” explore Indigenous existence and resistance through the specific lens of being Metis. Expansive and eye-opening,  Buffalo Is the New Buffalo  rewrites our shared history in provocative and exciting ways. (Arsenal Pulp Press)

best short story 2022

Maria, Maria and Other Stories

By marytza k. rubio (apr 26).

Set against the tropics and megacities of the Americas,  Maria, Maria  takes inspiration from wild creatures, tarot, and the porous borders between life and death. Motivated by love and its inverse, grief, the characters who inhabit these stories negotiate boldly with nature to cast their desired ends. As the enigmatic community college professor in “Brujería for Beginners” reminds us: “There’s always a price for conjuring in darkness. You won’t always know what it is until payment is due.” This commitment drives the disturbingly faithful widow in “Tijuca,” who promises to bury her husband’s head in the rich dirt of the jungle, and the sisters in “Moksha,” who are tempted by a sleek obsidian dagger once held by a vampiric idol.

But magic isn’t limited to the women who wield it. As Rubio so brilliantly elucidates, animals are powerful magicians too. Subversive pigeons and hungry jaguars are called upon in “Tunnels,” and a lonely little girl runs free with a resurrected saber-toothed tiger in “Burial.” A colorful catalog of gallery exhibits from animals in therapy is featured in “Art Show,” including the Almost Philandering Fox, who longs after the red pelt of another, and the recently rehabilitated Paranoid Peacocks.

Brimming with sharp wit and ferocious female intuition, these stories bubble over into the titular novella, “Maria, Maria”—a tropigoth family drama set in a reimagined California rainforest that explores the legacies of three Marias, and possibly all Marias. Writing in prose so lush it threatens to creep off the page, Rubio emerges as an ineffable new voice in contemporary short fiction. (Liveright)

best short story 2022

Valleyesque: Stories

By fernando a flores (may 3).

Psychedelic, dazzling stories set in the cracks of the Texas-Mexico borderland, from an iconoclastic storyteller and the author of  Tears of the Trufflepig. No one captures the border―its history and imagination, its danger, contradiction, and redemption―like Fernando A. Flores, whose stories reimagine and reinterpret the region’s existence with peerless style. In his immersive, uncanny borderland, things are never what they seem: a world where the sun is both rising and setting, and where conniving possums efficiently take over an entire town and rewrite its history.

The stories in  Valleyesque  dance between the fantastical and the hyperreal with dexterous, often hilarious flair. A dying Frédéric Chopin stumbles through Ciudad Juárez in the aftermath of his mother’s death, attempting to recover his beloved piano that was seized at the border, while a muralist is taken on a psychedelic journey by an airbrushed Emiliano Zapata T-shirt. A woman is engulfed by a used-clothing warehouse with a life of its own, and a grieving mother breathlessly chronicles the demise of a town decimated by violence. In two separate stories, queso dip and musical rhythms are bottled up and sold for mass consumption. And in the final tale, Flores pieces together the adventures of a young Lee Harvey Oswald as he starts a music career in Texas.

Swinging between satire and surrealism, grief and joy,  Valleyesque  is a boundary- and border-pushing collection from a one-of-a-kind stylist and voice. With the visceral imagination that made his debut novel,  Tears of the Trufflepig , a cult classic, Flores brings his vision of the border to life―and beyond. (MCD x FSG Originals)

best short story 2022

Just Like Being There: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

By eric choi (may 9).

Just Like Being There  is the first collection of science fiction stories by award-winning author and aerospace engineer Eric Choi spanning his 25 year writing career. The stories are “hard” science fiction in which some element of engineering or science is so central there would be no story if that element were removed. Story topics include space exploration, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cryptography, quantum computing, online privacy, mathematics (statistics), neuroscience, psychology, space medicine, extra-terrestrial intelligence, undersea exploration, commercial aviation, and the history of science. A special feature of the book is that each story is followed by an “Afterword” that explains the underlying engineering or science. This collection will entertain and inform all aficionados of science and science fiction. (Springer)

best short story 2022

God Isn’t Here Today

By francine cunningham (may 10).

For fans of Chuck Palahniuk, Joyce Carol Oates, and Karen Russell , the stories in Francine Cunningham’s debut collection  God Isn’t Here Today  ricochet between form and genre, taking readers on a dark, irreverent, yet poignant journey led by a unique and powerful new voice.

Driven by desperation into moments of transformation, Cunningham’s characters are presented with moments of choice—some for the better and some for the worse. A young man goes to God’s office downtown for advice; a woman discovers she is the last human on Earth; an ice cream vendor is driven insane by his truck’s song; an ageing stripper uses undergarments to enact her escape plan; an incubus tires of his professional grind; and a young woman inherits a power that has survived genocide, but comes with a burden of its own. (Invisible Publishing)

best short story 2022

Taobao: Stories

By dan k. woo (may 10).

In twelve spare, fable-like short stories Dan K. Woo introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters from different regions of China. From rural villages to bustling cities, Woo deftly charts the paths of young people searching for love, meaning and happiness in a country that is often misunderstood in North America. Whether they are participating in a marriage market to appease their mother, working as a delivery boy in Beijing or dealing with trauma in a hospital in Shanghai, we see these young people push against both tradition and the lightning-fast economy to try and make their way in often difficult situations. Woo brings remarkable empathy to these dreamlike stories and their twists and turns, which will linger long in readers’ minds. Through it all, the spectre of Taobao – China’s online retail giant – hovers, providing everything the characters might need or want, while also acting as a thread that ties together a captivating and complex collection of stories set in a captivating and complex country. (Wolsak & Wynn)

best short story 2022

The Devil Took Her: Tales of Horror

By michael botur (may 13).

Melanie’s increasingly disturbing journal entries have to be delusional ravings—if they’re not, there’s something terrible out there, snatching runaways in the night and spiriting them off to somewhere unspeakable. In his debut collection of horror stories,  The Devil Took Her,  short fiction writer Michael Botur, recognized in his native New Zealand as “one of the most original story writers of his generation,” offers twelve terrifying and bizarre tales that take us to the dark extremes of human imagination. A woman trapped in a coal cellar discovers that in order to live, part of her needs to die. A teen prankster’s vicious joke against her tutor brings revenge served cold. Cutting class turns terrifying for two high school introverts. A powerful-yet-paranoid publisher turns a young man’s magazine internship into a nightmare. And more . . . (The Sager Group LLC)

best short story 2022

The Last Five Minutes of a Storm

Edited by paula dias garcia, sam agar, marc clohessey (may 30).

“A stunning collection of writings, full of beauty, power and skill, and the new truths we need to be reading.” –  Joseph O’Connor, bestselling author of 2019 Irish Novel of the Year  Shadowplay.

In this collection, 15 writers explore what it means to be at the climatic point of a crisis, with salvation just in sight – but not quite there yet! Expect stories of defiance, grief, connection, magic and, of course, a dash of strangeness. With stories by Chris Bogle, Mei Davis, Aoife Esmonde, Kasandra Ferguson, Helena Pantsis, Sandy Parsons, Jamie Perrault, Daniel Ray, Samuel Skuse, Courtney Smyth, Tessa Swackhammer, Liz Ulin, Brigitte de Valk, Holden Wertheimer-Meier and Liza Wieland. (Sans. PRESS)

best short story 2022

Rainbow Rainbow

By lydia conklin (may 30).

A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that’s   not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy

In this exuberant, prize-winning collection, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heartrending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment. A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID. A lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, plying him with a potent rainbow-colored cocktail. A lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention. And in the depths of a Midwestern winter, a sex-addicted librarian relies on her pet ferrets to help resist a relapse at a wild college fair. Capturing both the dark and lovable sides of the human experience,  Rainbow Rainbow  establishes debut author Lydia Conklin as a fearless new voice for their generation. (Catapult)

best short story 2022

God’s Children are Little Broken Things

By arinze ifeakandu (jun 7).

In nine exhilarating stories of queer love in contemporary Nigeria,  God’s Children Are Little Broken Things  announces the arrival of a daring new voice in fiction .

A man revisits the university campus where he lost his first love, aware now of what he couldn’t understand then. A young musician rises to fame at the price of pieces of himself, and the man who loves him. Arinze Ifeakandu explores with tenderness and grace the fundamental question of the heart: can deep love and hope be sustained in spite of the dominant expectations of society, and great adversity. (A Public Space Books)

best short story 2022

Screams from the Dark: 29 Tales of Monsters and the Monstrous

Edited by ellen datlow (jun 7).

A bone-chilling anthology from legendary horror editor, Ellen Datlow,  Screams from the Dark  contains twenty-nine all-original tales about monsters.

From werewolves and vampires, to demons and aliens, the monster is one of the most recognizable figures in horror. But what makes something, or someone, monstrous?

Award-winning and up-and-coming authors like Richard Kadrey, Cassandra Khaw, Indrapramit Das, Priya Sharma, and more attempt to answer this question. These all-new stories range from traditional to modern, from mainstream to literary, from familiar monsters to the unknown … and unimaginable.

This chilling collection has something to please―and terrify―everyone, so lock your doors, hide under your covers, and try not to scream.

Contributors include: Ian Rogers, Fran Wilde, Gemma Files, Daryl Gregory, Priya Sharma, Brian Hodge, Joyce Carol Oates, Indrapramit Das, Siobhan Carroll, Richard Kadrey, Norman Partridge, Garry Kilworth, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Chikodili Emelumadu, Glen Hirshberg, A. C. Wise, Stephen Graham Jones, Kaaron Warren, Livia Llewellyn, Carole Johnstone, Margo Lanagan, Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Evenson, Nathan Ballingrud, Cassandra Khaw, Laird Barron, Kristi DeMeester, Jeffrey Ford, and John Langan. (Tor Nightfire)

best short story 2022

by Alex Pugsley (Jun 7)

In ten vividly told stories,  Shimmer  follows characters through relationships, within social norms, and across boundaries of all kinds as they shimmer into and out of each other’s lives.

Outside a 7-Eleven, teen boys Veeper and Wendell try to decide what to do with their night, though the thought of the rest of their lives doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. In Laurel Canyon, two movie stars try to decide if the affair they’re having might mean they like each other.

When Byron, trying to figure out the chords of a song he likes, posts a question on a guitar website, he ends up meeting Jessica as well, a woman with her own difficult music. And when the snide and sharp-tongued Twyla agrees to try therapy, not even she would have imagined the results. (Biblioasis)

best short story 2022

Sleeping Alone

By ru freeman (jun 7).

In this collection of rich and textured stories about crossing borders, both real and imagined,  Sleeping Alone  asks one of the fundamental questions of our times: What is the toll of feeling foreign in one”s land, to others, or even to oneself? A cast of misfits, young and old, single and coupled, even entire family units, confront startling changes wrought by difficult circumstances or harrowing choices.

These stories span the world, moving from Maine to Sri Lanka, from Dublin to Philadelphia, paying exquisite attention to the dance between the intimate details of our lives and our public selves.

Whether Ru Freeman, author of the novel  On Sal Mal Lane , is capturing secrets kept by siblings in Sri Lanka, or the life of itinerants in New York City, she renders the nuances of her characters” lives with real sensitivity, and imbues them with surprising dignity and grace. (Graywolf Press)

best short story 2022

Ghost Lover

By lisa taddeo (jun 14).

Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. An inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life’s responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it.

In these nine riveting stories, two of which have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans,  Ghost Lover  dares you to look away. (Avid Reader Press)

best short story 2022

A Calm and Normal Heart: Stories

By chelsea t. hicks (jun 21).

From Oklahoma to California, the heroes of A Calm & Normal Heart are modern-day adventurers—seeking out new places to call their own inside a nation to which they do not entirely belong. A member of the Osage tribe, author Chelsea T. Hicks’ stories are compelled by an overlooked diaspora happening inside America itself: that of young Native people. 

In stories like “Superdrunk,” “Tsexope,” and “Wets’a,” iPhone lifestyles co-mingle with ancestral connection, strengthening relationships or pushing people apart, while generational trauma haunts individual paths. Broken partnerships and polyamorous desire signal a fraught era of modern love, even as old ways continue to influence how people assess compatibility. And in “By Alcatraz,” a Native student finds herself alone on campus over Thanksgiving break, seeking out new friendships during a national holiday she does not recognize. Leaping back in time, “A Fresh Start Ruined” inhabits the life of Florence, an Osage woman attempting to hide her origins while social climbing in midcentury Oklahoma. And in “House of RGB” a young professional settles into a new home, intent on claiming her independence after a break-up, even if her ancestors can’t seem to get out of her way. 

Whether in between college semesters or jobs, on the road to tribal dances or escaping troubled homes, the characters of A Calm & Normal Heart occupy a complicated and often unreliable terrain. Chelsea T. Hicks brings sharp humor, sprawling imagination, and a profound connection to Native experience in a collection that will subvert long-held assumptions for many readers, and inspire hope along the way. (The Unnamed Press)

best short story 2022

Night, Rain, And Neon: All New Cyberpunk Stories

Edited by michael cobley (jul 1).

Produced as tribute to  Neuromancer , William Gibson’s genre defining novel,  Night, Rain, and Neon  is a volume of all new stories written by some of the sharpest and most insightful authors of cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk fiction around, curated by editor Michael Cobley.

“…this anthology offers something to enjoy here for any cyberpunk enthusiast – especially those who like it urban, grimy, and dangerously plausible.”  – Publishers Weekly

(Newcon Press)

best short story 2022

Life Ceremony: Stories

By sayaka murata (jul 5).

The long-awaited first short story-collection by the author of the cult sensation  Convenience Store Woman , tales of weird love, heartfelt friendships, and the unsettling nature of human existence

With  Life Ceremony , the incomparable Sayaka Murata is back with her first collection of short stories ever to be translated into English. In Japan, Murata is particularly admired for her short stories, which are sometimes sweet, sometimes shocking, and always imbued with an otherworldly imagination and uncanniness.

In these twelve stories, Murata mixes an unusual cocktail of humor and horror to portray both the loners and outcasts as well as turning the norms and traditions of society on their head to better question them. Whether the stories take place in modern-day Japan, the future, or an alternate reality is left to the reader’s interpretation, as the characters often seem strange in their normality in a frighteningly abnormal world. In “A First-Rate Material,” Nana and Naoki are happily engaged, but Naoki can’t stand the conventional use of deceased people’s bodies for clothing, accessories, and furniture, and a disagreement around this threatens to derail their perfect wedding day. “Lovers on the Breeze” is told from the perspective of a curtain in a child’s bedroom that jealously watches the young girl Naoko as she has her first kiss with a boy from her class and does its best to stop her. “Eating the City” explores the strange norms around food and foraging, while “Hatchling” closes the collection with an extraordinary depiction of the fractured personality of someone who tries too hard to fit in.

In these strange and wonderful stories of family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality, Murata asks above all what it means to be a human in our world and offers answers that surprise and linger. (Grove Press)

best short story 2022

Night of the Living Rez

By morgan talty (jul 5).

How do the living come back to life? 

Set in a Native community in Maine,  Night of the Living Rez  is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.

In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty—with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight—breathes life into tales of family and community bonds as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson, and thinks he is her dead brother come back to life; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs. 

In a collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance,  Night of the Living Rez  is an unforgettable portrayal of a Native community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction. (Tin House Books)

best short story 2022

Gods of Want: Stories

By k-ming chang (jul 12).

Startling stories center the bodies, memories, myths, and relationships of Asian American women. In “Auntland,” a steady stream of aunts adjust to American life by sneaking surreptitious kisses from women at temple, buying tubs of vanilla ice cream to prepare for citizenship tests, and hatching plans to name their daughters “Dog.” In “The Chorus of Dead Cousins,” ghost-cousins cross space, seas, and skies to haunt their live-cousin, wife to a storm chaser. In “Xífù,” a mother-in-law tortures a wife in increasingly unsuccessful attempts to rid the house of her. In “Mariela,” two girls explore one another’s bodies for the first time in the belly of a plastic shark, while in “Virginia Slims,” a woman from a cigarette ad comes to life. And in “Resident Aliens,” a former slaughterhouse serves as a residence to a series of widows, each harboring her own calamitous secrets. 

With each tale, K-Ming Chang gives us her own take on a surrealism that mixes myth and migration, corporeality and ghostliness, queerness and the quotidian. Stunningly told in her feminist fabulist style, these are uncanny stories peeling back greater questions of power and memory. (One World)

best short story 2022

Bad Thoughts: Stories

By nada alic (jul 12).

An exhilarating and delightfully deviant debut story collection that, with comedic precision and compulsive irreverence, explores the most surreal and inadmissible fantasies of contemporary women.

Nada Alic’s women—the perverts, nobodies, reality TV stars, poetic hopefuls, shameless party girls, and self-help addicts of Los Angeles and its environs—are all wrestling with a shared stark reality: the modern world. To cope, they live in their baddest thoughts: the lush, strange landscape of female make-believe.

In “Earth to Lydia,” a support group meets to enjoy earthly pleasures after achieving “too much enlightenment,” engaging in bizarre exercises that escalate to a point of violence and fear. The narrator of “Ghost Baby”—the spirit of a proto-child assigned to a couple whose chemistry is waning—writhes in disembodied frustration as its parents fail to conceive it. In “Daddy’s Girl,” the daughter of Eastern European immigrants tries to connect to her distant and difficult father through the invention of increasingly elaborate home maintenance repairs. And in “The Intruder,” a lonely woman’s break-in fantasy quickly builds to a full-blown obsession, until she finds an unwitting partner with whom to act it out.

Though each of Alic’s characters thrive and ache in different circumstances, they all grapple with the most painful equations of modern life: love, trust, power, loneliness, desire, violation, and vengeance. And she conjures them all with a voice that is instantly arresting, unexpectedly hilarious, and absolutely unforgettable. (Vintage)

best short story 2022

Hotel California: An Anthology of New Mystery Short Stories

Edited by don bruns (jul 12).

Featuring a new Jack Reacher story by Andrew Child!

A dangerous drifter, a hired gun, a grisly corpse — you never know who you’ll run into at the  Hotel California .

Eight deliciously talented mystery authors have lent their skills of crafting murder and suspense to this collection of gripping short stories. Each of these eight provocative tales is designed to entertain and mystify — and maybe even chill you to your core. Get lost in the wild imaginations of such  New York Times  bestselling writers as Andrew Child, Heather Graham, Reed Farrel Coleman, and John Gilstrap, plus authors Rick Bleiweiss, Jennifer Dornbush, Amanda Flower, and Don Bruns. From the titular tale “Hotel California” to a new, original Jack Reacher adventure, these stories have a little something for every mystery lover.

Go ahead. Check in, enjoy some room service, and stay until the very last tantalizing page. Just don’t forget to search the closet or behind the curtains. (Blackstone Publishing)

best short story 2022

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories

By jamil jan kochai (jul 12).

Pen/Hemingway finalist Jamil Jan Kochai ​breathes life into his contemporary Afghan characters, moving between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora in America. In these arresting stories verging on both comedy and tragedy, often starring young characters whose bravado is matched by their tenderness, Kochai once again captures “a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.”*

In “Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” a young man’s video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father’s memories of war and occupation. Set in Kabul, “Return to Sender” follows two married doctors driven by guilt to leave the US and care for their fellow Afghans, even when their own son disappears. A college student in the US in “Hungry Ricky Daddy” starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. And in the title story, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak,” we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family’s life.

The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories  is a moving exploration of characters grappling with the ghosts of war and displacement—and one that speaks to the immediate political landscape we reckon with today. (Viking)

best short story 2022

All the Hometowns You Can’t Stay Away From

By izzy wasserstein (jul 26).

In her debut collection, Izzy Wasserstein pries the lid off fourteen different worlds from an already impressive short fiction career. In these pages, you’ll meet ne’er-do-wells and orphans, investigators and revolutionaries, diplomats and doctoral students. Wasserstein has a gift for putting her finger on the meaty parts of grief, the catalysts of change, and the pain points of community.

This collection contains fourteen stories, two of which have never been seen before! “Case of the Soane Museum Thefts” unveils a crime of magical curation for its protagonist to puzzle over, while “Blades, Stones, and the Weight of Centuries” brings us the heir to an empire poised at the threshold of change. (Neon Hemlock Press)

best short story 2022

Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters

By maya sonenberg (aug 1).

In these dense and startling stories, Maya Sonenberg telescopes seasons, decades, and generations in candid depictions of women’s family lives.

What happens when the urge to ditch your family outpaces the desire to love them? The stories in Bad Mothers, Bad Daughters, winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction, attempt to answer this question, heading straight for the messiness of domestic relationships and the constraints society places on women as they navigate their obligations. Daughters desert their rheumy-eyed elders in dusty museums, steal a mother’s favorite teacup, or consider throwing their dead parents’ nostalgia-riddled belongings out the window. Mothers conclude that they love one child more than their others. Fathers puzzle over a wife’s inability to balance family and career or accuse a partner of blaming their child for her own misdeeds. Women mourn the children they decided not to have and fret over the legacy they’ll leave the children they do have. But sometimes the generations reconcile or siblings manage to rescue each other. Love tears these people apart, but it mends them too.

The emotions expressed in these stories are combustible, both fraught and nuanced, uncontrollable and common, but above all often ignored or hushed because we’re not supposed to be bored by our children or annoyed with our aged parents, even as we love them. The careful shapes of these stories adapted from fairy tales, verse, letters, or newspaper announcements, the surprise of their wordplay, and the blaze of their lyrical sentences allow them to dig into and contain all those messy emotions at the same time. In these works, constraint creates both understanding and fire. (University of Notre Dame Press)

best short story 2022

Her First Palestinian (and Other Stories)

By saeed teebi (aug 2).

Elegant, surprising stories about Palestinian immigrants in Canada navigating their identities in circumstances that push them to the emotional brink.

Saeed Teebi’s intense, engrossing stories plunge into the lives of characters grappling with their experiences as Palestinian immigrants to Canada. A doctor teaches his girlfriend about his country, only for her to fall into a consuming obsession with the Middle East conflict. A math professor risks his family’s destruction by slandering the king of a despotic, oil-rich country. A university student invents an imaginary girlfriend to fit in with his callous, womanizing roommates. A lawyer takes on the impossible mission of becoming a body smuggler. A lonely widower travels to Russia in search of a movie starlet he met in his youth in historical Jaffa. A refugee who escaped violent circumstances rebels against the kindness of his sponsor. These taut and compelling stories engage the immigrant experience and reflect the Palestinian diaspora with grace and insight. (Astoria)

best short story 2022

Fun & Quirky Classics

By carolyn j wild (aug 30).

What happens when a small lie snowballs out of control? Or a man finds a mouse in his pants on a train? Or a talking cat really ruins the mood at a dinner party? Find out in these fun and witty short stories by great writers such as Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and J. M. Barrie.

Some characters flounder their way through awkward and embarrassing social situations like in  The Awful Fate of Melpomenus Jones  and  My Brother Henry . Other tales have quirky plots, like  The Canterville Ghost , where the human occupants scare and terrorize the household ghost.

This collection gives you a chance to sample work from 7 master storytellers from the 1800s and early 1900s. The writers featured are Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, J.M. Barrie, Stephen Leacock, Saki, W.W. Jacobs and O. Henry. So read on, have a laugh and be entertained! (Indie)

best short story 2022


By rl stine (aug 30).

From New York Times bestselling author R.L. Stine, the master of horror for young readers, comes ten new stories that are sure to leave you shivering.

A boy who hates bugs starts to see them everywhere. A basketball player’s skin starts to almost drip off his hands—but no one else can see it. Three friends find a hole in the ground that just gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger… And each story is introduced by Stine himself, providing a personal touch sure to delight fans.

Laced with Stine’s signature humor and a hefty dose of nightmarish fun, Stinetinglers is perfect for fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Stine’s own Goosebumps books. These chilling tales prove that Stine’s epic legacy in the horror genre is justly earned. Dive in, and beware: you might be sleeping with the lights on tonight! (Macmillan)

best short story 2022

The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners

Edited by valeria luiselli and jenny minton quigley (sep 13).

The prestigious annual story anthology includes prize-winning stories by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lorrie Moore, Olga Tokarczuk, Joseph O’Neill, and Samanta Schweblin.

C ontinuing a century-long tradition of cutting-edge literary excellence, this year’s edition contains twenty prizewinning stories chosen from the thousands published in magazines over the previous year. Guest editor Valeria Luiselli has brought her own refreshing perspective to the prize, selecting stories by an engaging mix of celebrated names and emerging voices and including stories in translation from Bengali, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. The winning stories are accompanied by an introduction by Luiselli, observations from the winning writers on what inspired them, and an extensive resource list of magazines that publish short fiction. (Anchor Books)


“Screen Time,” by Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

“The Wolves of Circassia,” by Daniel Mason

“Mercedes’s Special Talent,” by Tere Dávila, translated from the Spanish by Rebecca Hanssens-Reed

“Rainbows,” by Joseph O’Neill

“A Way with Bea,” by Shanteka Sigers

“Seams,” by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft “The Little Widow from the Capital,” by Yohanca Delgado

“Lemonade,” by Eshkol Nevo, translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston “Breastmilk,” by ‘Pemi Aguda

“The Old Man of Kusumpur,” by Amar Mitra, translated from the Bengali by Anish Gupta

“Where They Always Meet,” by Christos Ikonomou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich

“Fish Stories,” by Janika Oza

“Horse Soup,” by Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Max Lawton

“Clean Teen,” by Francisco González

“Dengue Boy,” by Michel Nieva, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer

“Zikora,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Apples,” by Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson “Warp and Weft,” by David Ryan

“Face Time,” by Lorrie Moore

“An Unlucky Man,” by Samanta Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell

best short story 2022

Bliss Montage: Stories

By ling ma (sep 13).

A new creation by the author of  Severance ,  Bliss Montage  crashes through our carefully built mirages.

What happens when fantasy tears the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end?

In  Bliss Montage , Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything―if you bury yourself alive.

These and other scenarios investigate the ways that the outlandish and the ordinary are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly alike. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

best short story 2022

Natural History: Stories

By andrea barrett (sep 13).

Finalist for the 2022 Story Prize Named Among the Best Fiction of 2022 by  BookPage  and  Kirkus Reviews A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

In  Natural History , Andrea Barrett completes the beautiful arc of intertwined lives of a family of scientists, teachers, and innovators that she has been weaving through multiple books since her National Book Award–winning collection,  Ship Fever . The six exquisite stories in  Natural History  are set largely in a small community in central New York state and portray some of her most beloved characters, spanning the decades between the Civil War to the present day. In “Henrietta and Her Moths,” a woman tends to an insect nursery as her sister’s life follows a different path. In “Open House,” a young man grapples with a choice between a thrilling life spent discovering fossils and a desire to remain close to home. And in the magnificent title novella, “Natural History,” Barrett deepens the connection between her characters, bringing us through to the present day and providing an unforgettable capstone.

Told with Barrett’s characteristic elegance, passion for science, and wonderful eye for the natural world, the psychologically astute and moving stories gathered in this collection evoke the ways women’s lives and expectations—in families, in work, and in love—have shifted across a century and more. Building upon one another, these tales brilliantly culminate to reveal how the smallest events of the past can have large reverberations across the generations, and how potent, wondrous, and strange the relationship between history and memory can be. (WW Norton)

best short story 2022

The Year of the Monster

By tara stillions whitehead (sep 27).

The Year of the Monster begins with a case-study look at the Hollywood dream-proxy for the American Dream-and then weaves the woes of celebrity fetish and media culture into real and speculative conversations about the human, climate, and spiritual crises of today. Mixing traditional storytelling with purposeful experimentation, Stillions Whitehead balances prose, script, and hybrids on the fulcrum of classic truth: Monsters and monstrosity are not strictly teratological horrors.

Monster challenges the moral binaries of traditional story justice, situating vulnerable characters in strange, transgressive spaces: A disgraced high school math teacher gives birth to a black hole. Two women discover a dead bird in a near-future when wildlife is extinct. A man finds relief in losing his wife to a tornado. An Army wife coping with isolation is unable to escape media coverage of her former lover facing execution on death row. A cast of Hollywood characters catalog the process of dehumanization in an industry fueled by erasure: a young PA is forced to inoculate a drunk B-list actor in her trailer; two men negotiate a high-profile film project while rewriting the rape trial and suicide of a woman from film school; a young assistant is assaulted-and swept under the rug-while working on the number one sitcom in America. (Unsolicited Press)

best short story 2022


By alan moore (oct 10, 2022).

In his first-ever short story collection, which spans forty years of work and features many never-before-published pieces, Alan Moore presents a series of wildly different and equally unforgettable characters who discover–and in some cases even make and unmake–the various uncharted parts of existence.

In “A Hypothetical Lizard,” two concubines in a brothel for sorcerers fall in love with tragic ramifications. In “Not Even Legend,” a paranormal study group is infiltrated by one of the otherworldly beings they seek to investigate. In “Illuminations,” a nostalgic older man decides to visit a seaside resort from his youth and finds the past all too close at hand. And in the monumental novella “What We Can Know About Thunderman,” which charts the surreal and Kafkaesque history of the comics industry over the last seventy-five years through several sometimes-naive and sometimes-maniacal people rising and falling on its career ladders, Moore reveals the dark, beating heart of the superhero business.

From ghosts and otherworldly creatures to the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and theoretical Boltzmann brains fashioning the universe at the big bang,  Illuminations  is exactly that–a series of bright, startling tales from a contemporary legend that reveal the full power of imagination and magic. (Bloomsbury USA)

best short story 2022

Liberation Day

By george saunders (oct 18).

The “best short story writer in English” (Time) is back with a masterful collection that explores ideas of power, ethics, and justice, and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans. With his trademark prose–wickedly funny, unsentimental, and perfectly tuned–Saunders continues to challenge and surprise: here is a collection of prismatic, deeply resonant stories that encompass joy and despair, oppression and revolution, bizarre fantasy and brutal reality. “Love Letter” is a tender missive from grandfather to grandson, in the midst of a dystopian political situation in the not-too-distant future, that reminds us of our obligations to our ideals, ourselves, and each other. “Ghoul” is set in a Hell-themed section of an underground amusement park in Colorado, and follows the exploits of a lonely, morally complex character named Brian, who comes to question everything he takes for granted about his “reality.” In “Mother’s Day,” two women who loved the same man come to an existential reckoning in the middle of a hailstorm. And in “Elliott Spencer,” our eighty-nine-year-old protagonist finds himself brainwashed–his memory “scraped”–a victim of a scheme in which poor, vulnerable people are reprogrammed and deployed as political protesters. Together, these nine subversive, profound, and essential stories coalesce into a case for viewing the world with the same generosity and clear-eyed attention as Saunders does, even in the most absurd of circumstances. (Random House)

best short story 2022

This Time, That Place

By clark blaise (oct 18).

“Blaise is probably the greatest living Canadian writer most Canadians have never heard of.” — Quill & Quire

“If you want to understand something about what life was like in the restless, peripatetic, striving, anxiety-ridden, shimmer cultural soup of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries,” writes Margaret Atwood, “read the stories of Clark Blaise.”  This Time, That Place  draws together twenty-four stories that span the entirety of Blaise’s career, including one never previously published. Moving swiftly across place and time, through and between languages—from Florida’s Confederate swamps, to working-class Pittsburgh, to Montreal and abroad—they demonstrate Blaise’s profound mastery of the short story and reveal the range of his lifelong preoccupation with identity as fallacy, fable, and dream.

This Time, That Place: Selected Stories  confirms Clark Blaise as one of the best and most enduring masters of the form—on either side of our shared borders. (Biblioasis)

best short story 2022

The Man Who Screams at Nightfall: and other stories

By rush leaming (oct 28).

Thailand. The Congo. Greece. Spain. America… Four continents and forty-plus years in the making. The Man Who Screams at Nightfall  is a landmark collection of short stories depicting a young man on a classic voyage of self-discovery, wandering our planet in search of some purpose in life. From childhood to parenthood and everything in between—these tales are raw and unflinching; at other times, poignant and moving. Get ready for a literary journey unlike any you’ve experienced before. (Bridgewood)

best short story 2022

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022

By john joseph adams and rebecca roanhorse (nov 1).

Award-winning,  New York Times  bestselling author and guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse and series editor John Joseph Adams select twenty pieces that represent the best examples of the form published the previous year and explore the ever-expanding and changing world of SFF today. 

Today’s readers of science fiction and fantasy have an appetite for stories that address a wide variety of voices, perspectives, and styles. There is an openness to experiment and pushing boundaries, combined with the classic desire to read about spaceships and dragons, future technology and ancient magic, and the places where they intersect. Contemporary science fiction and fantasy looks to accomplish the same goal as ever—to illuminate what it means to be human.

With a diverse selection of stories chosen by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse,  The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2022  explores the ever-expanding and changing world of contemporary science fiction and fantasy. (Harper Collins)

best short story 2022

by Lindz McLeod (Nov 5)

(Bear Creek Press)

best short story 2022

Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction

Edited by sheree renée thomas, oghenechovwe donald ekpeki, and zelda knight (nov 5).

From award-winning editorial team Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, and Zelda Knight comes an anthology of thirty-two original stories showcasing the breadth of fantasy and science fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora. A group of cabinet ministers query a supercomputer containing the minds of the country’s ancestors. A child robot on a dying planet uncovers signs of fragile new life. A descendent of a rain goddess inherits her grandmother’s ability to change her appearance―and perhaps the world. Created in the legacy of the seminal, award-winning anthology series  Dark Matter ,  Africa Risen  celebrates the vibrancy, diversity, and reach of African and Afro-Diasporic SFF and reaffirms that Africa is not rising―it’s already here. (Tordotcom)

best short story 2022

Tell Me What You See

By terena elizabeth bell (dec 5).

Tell Me What You See is a collection of ten experimental short stories about coronavirus quarantines, climate change, the January 6th invasion on the US Capitol, and other events from 2020-2021.

Written in both word and image, pieces from the collection have been called “​​inventive and topical and fresh, emotional, chaotic, and important” by  The McNeese Review  and “timely, relevant, and interesting” by  The Missouri Review . Title story “Tell Me What You See” is a 2021 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) City Artist Corps winner. (Whiskey Tit)

  2022 anthology Collection

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best short story 2022

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best short story 2022

Announcing the Winners of the 2022 O. Henry Prize for Short Fiction

Read winning stories by olga tokarczuk, daniel mason, and alejandro zambra.

Terms of eligibility can be as revealing through those they exclude as through those they welcome. The first O. Henry Prize collection, published in 1919, ruled out all non-American writers. Yet in that very first edition, series editor Blanche Colton Williams called attention to several accomplished stories that she regretted were ineligible for consideration. Jacke Wilson, host of the History of Literature podcast, recently unearthed Williams’s introduction to that 1919 O. Henry collection and found in it this admission: “According to the terms which omit foreign authors from possible participation in the prize, the work of Achmed Abdullah, Britten Austin, Elinor Mordaunt and others was in effect non-existent for the Committee.” Williams goes on to describe at length the three missing stories by these authors, highlighting their unfortunate absence from the book and from the prize.

Over the next decades at least one expansion was made to the eligibility rules for the O. Henry Prize. It is not clear exactly when this happened, but in 1955 a student in Florida mentioned in her master’s thesis on the O. Henry series that “foreign-born authors were eligible if they became U.S. citizens.”

In the 1990s the prize was further opened to Canadian writers. We can guess that the motivation for that may have been to allow consideration of stories by the widely acclaimed Canadian short-story writer (and future Nobel laureate) Alice Munro. A further expansion came in 2003 under the ninth series editor, Laura Furman. The Publishers Weekly review of the 2003 edition noted, “A new, wider-ranging selection process (allowing the consideration of all English-language writers appearing in North American publications regardless of citizenship) makes this one of the strongest O. Henry collections in recent years, with stories by, among others, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.”

Nineteen years later, the guest editor for the 2022 volume, Valeria Luiselli, has selected a brand-new story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, along with ten remarkable stories in translation. This means that fully half of the winning stories this year are artistic collaborations with talented translators who enable readers of English to enjoy fiction originally crafted in Bengali, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. The subjects of this year’s twenty winning stories are predictably varied, but many touch on the pandemic, love and loss, though there is also humor and their appeal is universally human.

Readers of English have relied on translated stories at least since the Bible, and yet translations have long taken a backseat in our culture. If stories give us a window through which to momentarily enter the soul of another person, then translated stories magically transcend the limits of the language that has shaped our consciousness.

What I learned from Valeria Luiselli this year is nothing short of how to read in a new way. I learned to dissolve my previous conception of “successful” (perhaps tidy) literary translation and open the borders of my thinking to the living, dynamic melding of languages undertaken by the translators here in a way that opens one’s capacity to engage with literature and language generally. For every story is a work of translation, if only from thought to page and then into the reader’s particular consciousness.

–Jenny Minton Quigley, series editor for The Best Short Stories of The Year: The O. Henry Prize Winners

Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell “ Screen Time ,” The New York Times Magazine

Daniel Mason “ The Wolves of Circassia ,” Zoetrope

Tere Dávila, translated from the Spanish by Rebecca Hanssens-Reed “Mercedes’s Special Talent,” The Offing

Joseph O’Neill “Rainbows,” The New Yorker

Shanteka Sigers “A Way with Bea,” The Paris Review

Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft “ Seams ,” Freeman’s

Yohanca Delgado “The Little Widow from the Capital,” The Paris Review

Eshkol Nevo, translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston “Lemonade,” Guernica

’Pemi Aguda “Breastmilk,” One Story

Amar Mitra, translated from the Bengali by Anish Gupta “The Old Man of Kusumpur,” The Common

Christos Ikonomou, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich “Where They Always Meet,” The Yale Review

Janika Oza “Fish Stories,” The Kenyon Review

Vladimir Sorokin, translated from the Russian by Max Lawton “Horse Soup,” n+1

Francisco González “Clean Teen,” Gulf Coast

Michel Nieva, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer “Dengue Boy,” Granta

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “Zikora,” Amazon Original Stories

Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson “Apples,” Freeman’s

David Ryan “Warp and Weft,” Harvard Review

Lorrie Moore “Face Time,” The New Yorker

Samanta Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell “An Unlucky Man,” McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern


The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners , edited by Valeria Luiselli; series edited by Jenny Minton Quigley, will be published in September by Anchor Books.

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best short story 2022

With authors ranging from Jonathan Escoffery to Maggie Shipstead, the best short story collections of 2022 loom large.

best short story 2022

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best short story 2022

A woman mourns the deaths of two babies lost to a fire years ago while writing to an estranged son, a teenager mourns the disappearance of her bossy best friend yet appears implicated in the incident, and a young woman falls for the wrong man but resists staying with him. Throughout this powerful collection, Bieker impressively gives her characters plenty of play: how will their stories really end?

best short story 2022

Escoffery, Jonathan. If I Survive You. MCD. ISBN 9780374605988.

Escoffery links together smart, penetrating scenarios to portray a family from Jamaica striving to make it in Miami. At its heart is younger son Trelawny, figuring out who he is as the family survives a hurricane, recession, marital breakup, lousy houses, lousy jobs, and discrimination, with issues of self and identity surfacing painfully. A standout work, fresh, original, and beautifully written—often in second person.

best short story 2022

Fofana, Sidik. Stories from the Tenants Downstairs. Scribner. ISBN 9781982145811.

From public schoolteacher Fofana, these eight linked stories plumb the lives of tenants in Banneker Terrace, a low-income high-rise in Harlem threatened by gentrification. The portraits are conveyed in tightly woven, propulsive, rhythmically rich language, and though the characters all connect, each has a distinctive voice and story. A singular accomplishment.

best short story 2022

Ma, Ling. Bliss Montage: Stories. Farrar. ISBN 9780374293512.

A woman lives in a large compound with her husband and all her former boyfriends. A wife travels with her husband to his homeland and learns that the festival he’s attending involves burying oneself alive as a means of renewal. Ma reveals the absurdity of the everyday through envelope-pushing stories that feel weird and disturbing until one surrenders to their sensibility and realizes that they’re brilliant.

best short story 2022

MacLaverty, Bernard. Blank Pages: And Other Stories. Norton. ISBN 9780393881592.

During World War II, a woman discovers what happened to her sailor son by watching a newsreel, while a writer reconsiders his life after losing his life partner, and artist Egon Schiele and his wife spend their final days together before succumbing to the 1918 influenza. Irish author MacLaverty’s seventh collection is a classic, tinged with hope and loss while revealing his mastery of the written word.

best short story 2022

Mantel, Hilary. Learning To Talk: Stories. Holt. ISBN 9781250865366.

In these loosely autobiographical stories capturing ground-down 1950–60s Britain, the late Mantel doesn’t focus on financial stress or even the stubborn snobbery revealed in the title story, whose heroine spends years taking elocution lessons. Instead, she clarifies the significance of ordinary lives, showing how each of us is a fuse (burning faster or slower) and how each of us can hurt. A quiet probing of our deep everyday sorrows.

best short story 2022

Newman, Leigh. Nobody Gets Out Alive. Scribner. ISBN 9781982180300.

The sisters, daughters, wives, lone wolves, and a few anxious husbands in this dynamic debut navigate complicated relationships and the gravitational pull of Newman’s home state of Alaska, where everyone is running to or from something. Including a brusque, secretly sentimental ex-wife trying to sell her quirky home and a panicked mother on the road, these eloquently insightful characters are at once hardheaded and easy to love.

best short story 2022

Saunders, George. Liberation Day: Stories. Knopf. ISBN 9780525509592.

From employees creepily compelled to reenact Custer’s Last Stand and marginalized individuals literally reprogrammed as political protesters, to a hell-themed amusement park and a grandfather’s pleading letter amid dystopian crisis, Saunders crafts breathtakingly original stories. On the surface, his language is disturbing and hypnotic, but the currents underneath really catch readers and pull them under. It’s hard to stop reading.

best short story 2022

Shipstead, Maggie. You Have a Friend in 10A: Stories. Knopf. ISBN 9780525656999.

A teenage girl fleeing an ugly home situation ends up as a horse wrangler, a newbie novelist begins to realize what a pretentious jerk he was in graduate school, and after Iris inherits her blind grandfather’s Parisian house, a story unfolds of a family tragedy during World War II. Throughout, Shipstead displays luminous, exacting language to create distinctive characters who deal more or less successfully with life.

best short story 2022

Taddeo, Lisa. Ghost Lover: Stories. Avid Reader: S. & S. ISBN 9781982122188.

Taddeo’s stories portray women who have been shaped and often debased by assumptions framed largely by men, and she’s ferociously observant of contemporary mores that destructively angle us all toward power while crudely defining success in terms of sex and money, and failure as excess fat. Frank, acidulous, surprisingly twisty, and blazing with desire that’s often dangerous or misplaced; just the sort of uneasy reading that Taddeo always delivers.

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