Here is a list of some of my favorite short stories that are available to read online for free (I try to ensure this is the case at the time of posting. Occasionally, the publication adds a paywall after the fact). Some of these I have taught in a creative writing classroom, others have taught me as I learned (and continue to learn!) to write fiction; all of them I admire for the way they anticipate and complicate the reader’s expectations, upending traditional structure, subverting genre tropes, and reframing, redirecting or even radically expanding our scope of vision – the way we look at the world and at each other.
If you’re looking for something new to read and settle on something from this list, I hope it stays with you a while.
Last updated Feb. 17, 2021.
“Who Will Greet You at Home,” Leslie Nneka Arima (The New Yorker)
“The Lady of the House of Love,” Angela Carter (reprinted by Electric Literature)
“To Get Rich is Glorious,” Alexandra Chang (Zoetrope: All-Story)
“The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson (The New Yorker)
“Emergency,” Denis Johnson (Narrative)
“Wingless,” Jamaica Kincaid (read here by Edwidge Danticat for The New Yorker Fiction Podcast)
“The Loop,” J. Robert Lennon (The New Yorker)
“Stone Animals,” Kelly Link (reprinted in Electric Literature)
“The Husband Stitch,” Carmen Maria Machado (Granta)
“Girl and Giraffe,” Lydia Millet (reprinted in Electric Literature)
“Superfrog Saves Tokyo,” Haruki Murakami (GQ)
“The Semplica Girl Diaries,” George Saunders (The New Yorker)
“Meet the President!,” Zadie Smith (The New Yorker)
“Now Wait for This Week,” Alice Sola Kim (The Cut)
“Reverting to a Wild State,” Justin Torres (The New Yorker)
“Dog Heaven,” Stephanie Vaughn (The New Yorker)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare Magazine)