Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Six New Voices Stories to Read on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is this weekend, and to celebrate we have compiled a list of some of our favorite stories from our New Voices section, which features fiction and narrative nonfiction by emerging writers published online. Whether you want to celebrate your love for your partner, your family, or your pet—or if you simply want to read a tale in which all men are zombies—we have a story for you.


 If You Love Your Pet

If your furry companion occupies a special place in your heart, you will adore Jessica Lee Richardson’s story “House Hunt.” In it, a woman searches for a new home with her best friend, who just so happens to be a lion. One of our favorite lines: “The love I had for this lion was like a stake made of piano keys driven through the throat. Thick, painful, echoing.” Just read it.

 If You Love Star Wars

While intergalactic travel may be the principal factor uniting the Star Wars series and Samuel Jensen’s brilliant, quiet “Sarajevo,” I think that we can all agree that love stories are infinitely more romantic when they’re set in space. “Sarajevo” takes place in the future on a moon that is light years away from earth. In a cave on this distant moon, a deaf geologist miraculously hears—for the first time—the voice of her lost love. Trust us: you will be moved. Read the story here.

 If You’re Feeling Cynical

If you’re looking for a story about relationships that is realistic, but not romantic, you will love “That Was Me Once” by Megan Cummins. In this story, a man facing possible jail time spends an afternoon tagging along with his ex-wife. While he entertains romantic notions about this past relationship, his current girlfriend waits for him at home. He says about the two women: “I turn away from Dani, but the idea that I would go to her, if beckoned, keeps a steady pace with my love for Mara.” Continue reading here.

 If You’re Into the Supernatural

 In “Clean Hunters” by Lena Valencia, Emily and her husband Gabe share a passion for ghosts. They are clean hunters, searching for spirits not with fancy detection equipment, but with their natural Sense. However, when they travel to a famously haunted New England inn to celebrate their anniversary, tension in their relationship mounts. “Clean Hunters” is an illuminating examination of the notions of dependency and deception in relationships. Dive in here.

If You Want to Celebrate Your Family

William Pei Shih’s “The Golden Arowana” is a beautiful examination of the love of family across different generations. In this story, a man and his grandmother take a road trip to claim a valuable fish. “The Golden Arowana” was the second runner up in our Short Story Award for New Writers and each one of its sentences shimmers. Read the whole story.

If You’re Just So Over It

If you are simply done with all of the Valentine’s Day sappiness, let us suggest “Life After Men” by Dale Bridges, in which all men are zombies. The author had this to say about his piece: “Turning the male population into mindless, bloodthirsty zombies allowed me to reduce “men” to a convenient metaphor without being too literary about it. Emily has been hurt by all the men she has ever known, but she’s still drawn to them. She loves them, but she also wants them to die. I think that’s how I would feel about men if I was a young woman.” Read on.

Browse our full New Voices archive here.

by Sadye Teiser

Cover Art for Our Favorite Stories

Novels often get the makeover treatment. Publishers redesign covers for paperback releases, anniversary and special volumes, and to update outdated imagery. Artists also love the challenge, and commonly produce alternative cover art for their favorite books. But what of the short story? Those special gems we treasure so much? We decided to make cover art for some of our favorites, and have included a song we feel best suits the mood, tone, or subject of the story below. Enjoy!


“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson debuted  in 1948 in The New Yorker and was an instant hit among readers. It received the largest number of letters to the magazine than any other story at the time and it’s easy to see why. Jackson went on to become an authoritative voice on the dark and sinister and has many bestsellers to her name. Read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson here.

Accompanied song: “The Killing Type” by Amanda Palmer

ceiling“The Ceiling” by Kevin Brockmeier is on almost everyone’s favorite short stories list. It won the O. Henry Prize in 2002 for Best Short Story and is about an object that appears in the sky that grows ever closer. The townspeople call it “the ceiling” and you can read about it here.

Accompanied song: “The Wilhelm Scream” by James Scream

Unicorn peel off from silver paper background“Ponies” by Kij Johnson was published by Tor in 2010 and won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story that year. In “Ponies” Barbara is invited to a “cutting out” party for her talking unicorn. As you can probably guess, Barbara and her pony, Sunny, are in for more than they bargained for. You can read “Ponies” by Kij Johnson, here.

Accompanied song: “You Gotta Suffer A Lot to Be Happy” by Sunny & Share Love You

St Lucy's“St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell was originally published in Granta and is the titular story for her first collection. In this piece, a group of girls who spent their childhood raised by wolves is sent away to live with nuns so they can transition into young women. Russell’s imaginative stories and beautiful writing have made her a favorite among short story readers. Read “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised by Wolves” here.

Accompanied song: “Running With The Wolves” by AURORA

Kim Winternheimer

Anthology Judge Kevin Brockmeier’s Fifty Favorite Short Stories

Submissions for our 2015 anthology are now open! Our guest judge Kevin Brockmeier says he is “looking for the kind of stories that result when a writer combines imaginative daring with dynamic, exact, emotionally suggestive prose.” To give you a better idea of the sorts of stories he admires, here is a list of his fifty favorites. And, if you’re looking for still more inspiration, check out this list of Brockmeier’s  favorite fantasy and science fiction in our May interview.


Little Rock Author Kevin Brockmeier
Several Rules: (1) I have listed these stories in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, rather than in order of preference—though I’ve marked my ten current favorites with an asterisk. (2) I have chosen no more than one story (or in a few cases one novella) per author. (3) I have tried to be honest, which is why there are so many contemporary English-language stories on this list, as well as so many stories by science fiction writers, magic realists, and assorted other fantasists.


—Kevin Brockmeier, August 7, 2014

Fifty Favorite Stories

1. “Tickets on Time (Extracts from the diary of Jules Flegmon)” by Marcel Aymé
2. “The Voices of Time” by J.G. Ballard (*)
3. “Gryphon” by Charles Baxter
4. “The Last Song of Sirit Byar” by Peter S. Beagle
5. “The Accordion Player” by John Berger (*)
6. “Three Versions of Judas” by Jorge Luis Borges
7. “The State of Grace” by Harold Brodkey (*)
8. “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler
9. “The Time Machine” by Dino Buzzati
10. “The Light-Years” by Italo Calvino (*)
11. “American Dreams” by Peter Carey
12. “Sins and Virtues” by Jim Crace
13. “White Angel” by Michael Cunningham
14. “Pet Milk” by Stuart Dybek
15. “The Prophet from Jupiter” by Tony Earley (*)
16. “The Twenty-seventh Man” by Nathan Englander
17. “Grace” by Paula Fox
18. “From the Fifteenth District” by Mavis Gallant
19. “The Torturer’s Wife” by Thomas Glave (*)
20. “Professor Berkowitz Stands on the Threshold” by Theodora Goss (*)
21. “Two Gentle People” by Graham Greene
22. “Monday” by Mark Helprin
23. “It Didn’t Bother Me” by Jeremy Jackson
24. “Emergency” by Denis Johnson
25. “Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor” by Franz Kafka
26. “The Joy and Melancholy Baseball Trivia Quiz” by Ken Kalfus
27. “The Dark Princess” by Richard Kennedy
28. “Bobcat” by Rebecca Lee
29. “Catskin” by Kelly Link
30. “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean
31. “The Boat” by Alistair MacLeod
32. “The Briefcase” by Rebecca Makkai
33. “Man in the Drawer” by Bernard Malamud
34. “Sandkings” by George R. R. Martin
35. “Singular Pleasures” by Harry Mathews
36. “The Thistles in Sweden” by William Maxwell (*)
37. “Twins” by Megan Milks
38. “The Next Thing” by Steven Millhauser
39. “Faith and Mountains” by Augusto Monterroso
40. “A Window” by Haruki Murakami
41. “Sugar Among the Chickens” by Lewis Nordan
42. “Reeling for the Empire” by Karen Russell
43. “Akhnilo” by James Salter
44. “Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz” by George Saunders
45. “The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter” by Lucius Shepard
46. “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy (*)
47. “Extracts from Adam’s Diary and Eve’s Diary” by Mark Twain
48. “Escapes” by Joy Williams (*)
49. “The Dreamed” by Robert McLiam Wilson
50. “The Private Lives of Trees” by Alejandro Zambra


NYC Midnight – Short Story Challenge

NYC Midnight is doing another fun fiction challenge, this time in the format of short stories. (On occasion they’ve hosted flash fiction, screen writing, and others.) Registration is open now until February 21, 2013. Here is some more info about the contest from the site. Check it out and dust off your short story skills!

The 7th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world.  There are 3 rounds of competition.  In the1st Round (February 22-March 2, 2013), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment (see examples of past assignments here).  Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words.  The judges choose a top 5 in each heat to advance to the 2nd Round (April 11-14) where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word(maximum) short story.  Judges choose a top 25 from the 2nd Round to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (May 17-18).  A panel of judges review the final round stories and overall winners are selected!