The Ten Best Living Short Story Writers

by Patrick on May 23, 2008

May is National Short Story Month. I didn’t know this until recently. Why doesn’t National Short Story Month get the same attention as National Poetry Month? I suspect it’s due to the powerful poetry lobby in Washington. Just you wait until John McCain gets rid of their insidious influence, then the short stories will finally get their due!

In honor of the National Short Story Month, I thought I’d compile a list of the Ten Best Living Short Story Writers (according to me):

1. Lorrie Moore
2. Stuart Dybek
3. George Saunders
4. Denis Johnson
5. Amy Hempel
6. John Updike
7. Dan Chaon
8. Mary Gaitskill
9. Thom Jones
10. JD Salinger

Writers I haven’t read enough of but who probably deserve to be on the list: Aimee Bender, Tobias Wolff, Ann Beattie, Edward P. Jones, David Foster Wallace. I happen to like AM Homes’ novels better than her stories. I’ve never cared for Alice Munro, but I’m willing to give her another try. I think I’ll never be able to like William Trevor as much as the editors at The New Yorker do.

Waiting for more evidence: Ander Monson. Sam Lipsyte. Edan Lepucki.

Honorable mention in a special category: Adrian Tomine.

Who would you have on your list? Post it in the comments.

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    julie klam 05.23.08 at 2:09 pm

    Well, my favorite is Matthew Klam who was named one of the 20 best fiction writer’s under 40 by the New Yorker and he’s won O Henry awards, and lots of other awards, too.

    judy 05.23.08 at 7:10 pm

    unfortunately she is no longer living, but i just finished A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. i am not really a fan of short stories. too short. can’t really sink my teeth in. but these stories are rich, decadent, sinful somehow. because who else really tells how bad people can be?

    Edan 05.24.08 at 11:45 am

    Julie Klam–are you related to Matthew Klam, or married to him?

    julieklam 05.24.08 at 2:32 pm

    Edan, Matthew Klam is my brother. I actually started writing the post about Tim O’Brien and then I thought, ‘What has Tim O’Brien ever done for me? Nothing. Yet year after year short story writer Matthew Klam remembers me on my birthday with something nice, if ill fitting.’

    Emma Straub 05.25.08 at 3:00 pm

    An excellent list. I’d add Kelly Link and Deborah Eisenberg.

    Anonymous 05.27.08 at 6:05 pm

    I like lists.
    This is a good one.

    Terry Finley

    Tao Lin 06.15.08 at 2:00 pm

    joy williams

    Georgia Millan 01.15.09 at 10:19 pm

    JD Salinger is my favorite short story author. I remember including a portion of his story in one of my term papers way back in college.

    Sandra Vahtel 05.07.09 at 9:13 pm

    Ron Carlson!!

    Kate 07.06.09 at 11:36 pm

    Definitely Ron Carlson! Also–Jean Thompson.

    Kristan 11.03.11 at 7:38 am

    J.D. Salinger died.

    annie proulx 09.11.13 at 8:49 pm

    “close range” is a great collection. wonderful language.

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