Celebrate the short form on the shortest night of the year.

Tonight – 21 June 2013 – is the shortest night of the year*: readers and writers all over the globe are taking time out from their usual reading habits for a small moment of literary calm – a chance to enjoy and contemplate the quiet wonder of the short story.

Take a few minutes to explore this site with over 200 recommendations for great short stories (old and new) you may not have read before (SEE RIGHT >>>)

More information about short story projects to follow…

*Assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere.

“My first success as an author came with the award winning of short story contests. As a reader I loved the elegant short stories of William Trevor and Iain Crichton Smith, and the worlds within worlds produced by Jayne Anne Phillips. Later on I devoured the crime short stories printed in annual collections and in magazines such as Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Most recently, I enjoyed the collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by the American writer Wells Tower. He reminds me of Raymond Carver one of the true giants of the form. – Ian Rankin

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“I love short stories – reading and writing them. The best short stories distill all the potency of a novel into a small but heady draught. They are perfect reading material for the bus or train or for a lunchtime break. Everything extraneous has been strained off by the author. The best short stories pack the heft of any novel, yet resonate like poetry.” – Ian Rankin

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‘For many years I read Thomas Hardy, before turning to Franz Kafka. Kafka continues to amaze. Also, still greatly enjoyable are the stories of ‘Saki.’ They now contain a slightly Edwardian flavour, which suits them well.’ – Brian Aldiss

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‘One of our best short story writers is undoubtedly William Trevor. One hears little about Trevor in the media. This is because those writers who are not as good by half as Trevor hog the media instead, but William Trevor’s voice, quiet though it is, remains the one that must be heard by anyone with a love of literature.’ – Brian Aldiss

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‘The short story is as diverse and exciting a form as the novel, offering the condensed satisfaction of a good poem.’ – Sean O’Brien

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‘I love the short story format, and was very much alive when writing four books of them. Classic masters for me are such as Chekhov, Stefan Zweig and Isaac Bashevis Singer. For the moderns there’s the stylish Rose Tremain and the unpredictable Ian McEwan’. – Arnold Wesker

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‘The short story is the most astonishing form: more supple than the novel, because of its length it’s possible to be more experimental, to do away, sometimes, with plot or character or logic. Instead of having to fill in details, to explain itself, to come to a conclusion, a short story can simply throw a thought at the reader, hurl a moment. It’s gemlike. There are no perfect novels, but there are perfect stories, I think.’ – Naomi Alderman

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  • MJ Hyland recommends ‘The Overcoat’ & ‘Creatures of the Earth’

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  • Gregory Norminton recommends ‘First Love’ & ‘The Tipping Point’

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  • Felicity Skelton recommends ‘Reunion’ & ‘Miles City, Montana’

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  • Sanneke van Hassel recommends ‘Two Old People’ & ‘Misha’

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  • Cathy Galvin recommends ‘William Burns’ & ‘Sleep’

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  • Nicholas Royle recommends ‘Murder’ & ‘When the Door Closed, It Was Dark’

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  • Alison MacLeod recommends ‘Revelation’ & ‘Days Necrotic’

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  • Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer recommends ‘Dormitory’ & ‘The Adventure of a Soldier’

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  • Maggie Gee recommends ‘Lady into Fox’ & ‘The Necessary Strength’

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  • Loree Westron recommends ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ & ‘What You Pawn I Will Redeem’

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  • Ailsa Cox recommends ‘The Cat Jumps’ & ‘Dimensions’

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  • Elizabeth Baines recommends ‘A Conversation with my Father’ & ‘The Universal Story’

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  • Jon McGregor recommends ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’ ‘ & ‘Tenth of December’

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  • KJ Orr recommends ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ & ‘Leopard’

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  • Vanessa Gebbie recommends ‘The Ledge’ & ‘Robot Wasps’

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  • Jacob Ross recommends ‘The Machine Stops’ & ‘The Boy Who Loved Ice-Cream’

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  • Claire Massey recommends ‘Automata’ & ‘Egnaro’

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  • Andy Murray recommends ‘You’re Too Hip, Baby’ & ‘Hob’s Hog’

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  • Tania Hershman recommends ‘The Leaf-Sweeper’ & ‘God’s Gift’

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  • Sarah Schofield recommends ‘Flowers For Algernon’ & ‘Winter Break’

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  • Toby Litt recommends ‘The Beast in the Jungle’ & ‘The Stylist’

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  • Stella Duffy recommends ‘Miss Brill’ & ‘Girl Meets Boy’

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  • Annie Clarkson recommends ‘Little Birds’ & ‘What Is Seized’

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  • Annie Clarkson recommends ‘Little Birds’ & ‘What Is Seized’

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  • Daneet Steffens recommends ‘The Gift of the Magi’ & ‘The Boat’

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  • David Constantine recommends ‘Daughters of the Vicar’ & ‘Because It Is Running By’

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  • Ronald J. Wright recommends ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ & ‘Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?’

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  • Chris Moss recommends ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’ and ‘In-Flight Entertainment’

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  • Jim Hinks recommends ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’ and ‘Coming Attractions’

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  • Adam Roberts recommends ‘Symbols and Signs’ and ‘Gene Wars’

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  • David Vann recommends ‘Signs and Symbols’ & ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’

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  • Steve Dearden recommends ‘Pippi Is A Thing Searcher And Ends Up In a Fight’ & ‘Linden Trees’

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  • Michelle Green recommends ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ & ‘Present’

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  • Marianne Mitchelson recommends ‘The Bottle Imp’ & ‘The Snail Watcher’

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  • Jo Brandon recommends ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ & ‘Rape Fantasies’

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  • Will Mackie recommends ‘The Garden Party’ & ‘Mauricio “the Eye” Silva’

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  • Beda Higgins recommends ‘The Snow Queen’ & ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’

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  • Ra Page recommends ‘A Hunger Artist’ & ‘The Dead Astronaut’

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  • Rodge Glass recommends ‘A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life’ & ‘Five Letters from an Eastern Empire’

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  • Amanda Craig recommends ‘The Fly’ & ‘Indefinite Nights’

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  • Emma Turnbull recommends ‘The Cat in the Rain’ & ‘The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God’

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  • Caryl Phillips recommends ‘Let Them Call It Jazz’ & ‘The Incalculable Life Gesture’

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  • Nicola Barker recommends ‘A Hunger Artist’ & ‘Indignities’

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  • Bidisha recommends ‘Twenty Years’ & ‘A Grand Day’

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  • Lili Wilkinson recommends ‘The Elephant’s Child’ & ‘Winkie’

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  • Naomi Alderman recommends ‘The Unrest Cure’ & ‘The Horse’

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  • Aminatta Forna recommends ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ & ‘Door In Your Eye’

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  • Joanna Briscoe recommends ‘Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger’ & ‘Lentils and Lilies’

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  • Tracy Chevalier recommends ‘The Necklace’ and ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

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  • Zoe Lambert recommends ‘Prelude’ and ‘The Ant of the Self’

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  • Rachel Zadok recommends ‘Mother’ and ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’

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  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recommends ‘The Garden Party’ & ‘How to Be an Other Woman’

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  • Andrew Forster recommends ‘Lord Authur Saville’s Crime’ & ‘Fidelity’

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  • Bernardine Evaristo recommends ‘What You Nearly Always Find in Novels, Stories etc.’ & ‘Rum an Coke’

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  • Susie Wild recommends ‘Tristram and Isolde’ & ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

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  • Rachel Trezise recommends ‘Good Country People’ & ‘A Lonely Coast’

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Full list of recommendations

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