Famous American Short Story Writers

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For those who love reading short stories, imagine the genre without the likes of Edgar Allen Poe or O’Henry, J.D Salinger or Issac Asimov, Washington Irving or F Scott Fitzgerald! Completely bleak and sombre isn’t it? And why not for reading short stories is incomplete without having read O’Henry’s ‘The Gift of Magi’ or Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’, Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’ and ‘The Bicentennial Man’ or Irving’s ‘Rip Van Winkle’. That is the influence that American writers have casted over the genre of short story. Usually shorter than a novel with a brief fictional prose narrative, short stories have found universal acceptance. A short story usually has a small cast of characters and revolves around one or two incidents, thus evoking a particular effect or mood. What gives short story an edge over lengthy novels is that despite relatively limited scope, it provides a satisfying treatment to its characters and subjects! While the aforementioned are some of the greatest American short story writers that the country has ever produced, the new-age writers have also given readers compelling work that has simply been unputdownable, be it George Saunders and his ‘Pastoralia’ or Wells Tower and his ‘Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned’ or Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan and her ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’. Read this section to know about the life and works of famous American short story writers.
Vote for Your Favourite American Short Story Writers
 1 
Ernest Hemingway
(American Literary Icon Who Was Known for His Straightforward Prose & Use of Understatement)
Ernest Hemingway
8
Birthdate: July 21, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: July 2, 1961

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist and short-story writer who had a strong impact on 20th-century fiction. He published seven novels and six short-story collections and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea are some of his classic works. He ended his own life in July 1961.

 2 
Philip K. Dick
(American Science Fiction Writer)
Philip K. Dick
9
Birthdate: December 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 2, 1982

Philip K. Dick was an American writer who was known for his work that explores varied social and philosophical themes. Dick's novels have inspired films like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, his novel Ubik was included in Time magazine's list of 100 greatest novels published in English since 1923.

 3 
William Faulkner
(Regarded as One of the Most Significant American Writers of All Time)
William Faulkner
7
Birthdate: September 25, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Albany, Mississippi, United States
Died: July 6, 1962
Nobel Prize-winning Southern author William Faulkner is remembered for works The Sound and the Fury, A Rose for Emily, and As I Lay Dying. He immortalized Mississippi as the fictional "Yoknapatawpha County" in his works. He also won two Pulitzers, one each for A Fable and The Reivers.
 4 
J. D. Salinger
(American Author Best Known for His Novel 'The Catcher in the Rye')
J. D. Salinger
9
Birthdate: January 1, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: January 27, 2010
J. D. Salinger is best remembered for his controversial novel The Catcher in the Rye, which was banned in many school libraries due to its sexual content. His other notable works include the anthology Nine Stories and the novella Hapworth. He spent much of his life in seclusion. 
 5 
Charles Bukowski
(Poet and Author Known for His Work “Mockingbird Wish Me Luck,” and “Love Is a Dog from Hell”)
Charles Bukowski
9
Birthdate: August 16, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Andernach, Germany
Died: March 9, 1994

German-American poet and short story writer ,Charles Bukowski, addressed the ordinary lives of poor Americans in most of his works. Since his death, he has been the subject of many critical books and articles. His stories have inspired several films like Tales of Ordinary Madness, Crazy Love, and Factotum.

 6 
Jack London
(Novelist & Journalist)
Jack London
10
Birthdate: January 12, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: November 22, 1916

Jack London was an American novelist, social activist, and journalist. A pioneer of American magazines and commercial fiction, London was one of the first authors from the US to become an international celebrity. His life and work inspired several films, such as the 1943 movie Jack London and 1980 film Klondike Fever. He was also portrayed in several TV series.

 7 
Ray Bradbury
(One of the Most Celebrated 20th-Century American Writers Known for His Novel 'Fahrenheit 451')
Ray Bradbury
6
Birthdate: August 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States
Died: June 5, 2012
Ray Bradbury is best remembered for his writings in the science-fiction, mystery, and horror genres, the most notable being the short story anthology Martian Chronicles and the novel Fahrenheit 451. He also contributed to the screenplays of various series and films, and won an Emmy for writing The Halloween Tree.
 8 
Stephen King
(A Prolific & Immensely Popular Author of Horror Fiction)
Stephen King
8
Birthdate: September 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States

One of the most popular American authors, Stephen King has sold over 350 million copies of his works. Many of his books have been adapted into television series, miniseries, and films. One of the most decorated authors, King believes in giving back to society as he and his wife are noted philanthropists.

 9 
Herman Melville
(Novelist & Short Story Writer of the American Renaissance Period Best Known for His Works 'Moby-Dick' & 'Typee')
Herman Melville
4
Birthdate: August 1, 1819
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: September 28, 1891

Herman Melville was an American short story writer, novelist, and poet. One of his best-known works, Moby-Dick is widely regarded as one of the great American novels, although it did not garner much attention during his lifetime. Livyatan melvillei, a species of an extinct sperm whale, which was discovered in 2010, was named in his honor.  

 10 
F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Best Known for His Novel 'The Great Gatsby')
F. Scott Fitzgerald
5
Birthdate: September 24, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died: December 21, 1940

Novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short-story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. However, he wasn’t much popular during his lifetime. His works gained international acclaim only in the years following his untimely death at 44. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

 11 
O. Henry
(Short Story Writer)
O. Henry
10
Birthdate: September 11, 1862
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina
Died: June 5, 1910
William Sydney Porter, better known by his pseudonym, O. Henry, is remembered as one of the world’s greatest short story writers. One of his most notable works is The Gift of the Magi. His signature style included plot twists in the end. He was once jailed for embezzlement. 
 12 
Nathaniel Hawthorne
(Novelist and Short Story Writer)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
6
Birthdate: July 4, 1804
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Salem, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 19, 1864

Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American writer, known for dark romanticism and moral-themed novels and short stories. A descendant of judge John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials infamy, the writer was a friend of late American president Franklin Pierce. His well-known books include Twice-Told Tales, The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel was married to painter Sophia Peabody.

 13 
Louisa May Alcott
6
Birthdate: November 29, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Germantown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 6, 1888
Novelist and short story writer Louisa May Alcott is best remembered as the author of the 1868 novel Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys. She initially wrote using the pseudonym “A. M. Barnard.” She never married and remained a life-long feminist and abolitionist.
 14 
Shirley Jackson
(American Writer Known Primarily for Her Works of Horror and Mystery)
Shirley Jackson
7
Birthdate: December 14, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: September 8, 1965
Shirley Jackson redefined the genres of horror and mystery through her works, which include over 200 short stories and six novels. Her iconic novel The Haunting of Hill House was made into a popular Netflix series and several movies, including the 1963 and 1999 versions of The Haunting
 15 
Washington Irving
(Author, Historian, Diplomat)
Washington Irving
5
Birthdate: April 3, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 28, 1859

Widely known as the first American man of letters, Washington Irving penned the legendary tales of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which are also called the first short stories by an American author. He had also had a brief stint as a lawyer.

 16 
Sylvia Plath
(Famous for Her Books 'The Bell Jar' and 'Ariel')
Sylvia Plath
9
Birthdate: October 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath was an American short-story writer, novelist, and poet. Plath is credited with popularizing confessional poetry and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Sylvia Plath achieved popularity and critical acclaim despite suffering from clinical depression for the most part of her adult life. Her story inspired the 2003 film Sylvia in which she was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

 17 
William S. Burroughs
(Best Known for His Third Novel 'Naked Lunch')
William S. Burroughs
6
Birthdate: February 5, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: August 2, 1997
Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs soared to fame with his novels Junkie and Naked Lunch, with the latter being at the center of a censorship issue. Also known by his pseudonym, "William Lee," he exhibited artwork such as the Gunshot Paintings. He accidentally shot and killed his second wife.
 18 
George R. R. Martin
(Author of Epic Fantasy Novels 'A Song of Ice and Fire')
George R. R. Martin
11
Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
George R. R. Martin wrote the epic fantasy series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the iconic Emmy-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. Also known as the "American Tolkien," he was featured on TIME 100. He has earned the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, too.
 19 
Ambrose Bierce
(Journalist & Writer, soldier)
Ambrose Bierce
6
Birthdate: June 24, 1842
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Meigs County, Ohio, United States
Died: December 1, 1914
 20 
Philip Roth
(One of the Most Awarded American Writers of His Generation)
Philip Roth
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 22, 2018

Philip Roth was a novelist and short-story writer best remembered for creating the fictional character Nathan Zuckerman, who featured in many of his novels. The recipient of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, he also received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize. Roth was one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. Born a Jew, he became an atheist later on.

 21 
Alice Walker
(The First African-American Woman to Win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Alice Walker
5
Birthdate: February 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eatonton, Georgia, United States
Author Alice Walker is best known for her National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. She is credited with coining the term womanist, to mean feminist of color. Her marriage with Melvyn Roseman Leventhal was the first official interracial marriage in the state of Mississippi.
 22 
Dashiell Hammett
(Regarded as one of the Best Mystery Writers of All Time)
Dashiell Hammett
7
Birthdate: May 27, 1894
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Mary's County, Maryland, United States
Died: January 10, 1961
 23 
Anne Rice
(American Author Best Known for Her Series of Novels ‘The Vampire Chronicles’)
Anne Rice
4
Birthdate: October 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
 24 
Harlan Ellison
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: June 28, 2018
 25 
Diana Gabaldon
(Author Known for Her 'Outlander' Series of Novels)
Diana Gabaldon
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Williams, Arizona, United States

Author Diana Gabaldon, daughter of Arizona senator Tony Gabaldon, is best known for her Outlander novel series, which has also been adapted into a TV series. Gabaldon has also authored the Lord John series. She is known for mingling several genres, including historical fiction, mystery, science fiction, and romance.

 26 
Dean Koontz
(Novelist)
Dean Koontz
4
Birthdate: July 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Everett, Pennsylvania, United States
 27 
Thomas Clayton Wolfe
(An Important Writer in Modern American Literature and One of the First Masters of Autobiographical Fiction)
Thomas Clayton Wolfe
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1900
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Died: September 15, 1938
Novelist Thomas Wolfe is remembered for his novels Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River. He had also authored countless short stories and plays. His signature style included elements of autobiographical writing mixed with poetic and lyrical prose. His works influenced Beat Generation writers, too.
 28 
Flannery O'Connor
8
Birthdate: March 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died: August 3, 1964
 29 
Patrick Rothfuss
5
Birthdate: June 6, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
 30 
John Cheever
(Novelist & Short Story Writer)
John Cheever
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Quincy
Died: June 18, 1982
 31 
John Updike
(Poet, Novelist)
John Updike
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 27, 2009
 32 
Joyce Carol Oates
4
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States
 33 
N. K. Jemisin
(Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer Known for Her 'Inheritance' Trilogy)
N. K. Jemisin
4
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, United States

N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.

 34 
Sinclair Lewis
(Nobel Prize Winner in Literature)
Sinclair Lewis
4
Birthdate: February 7, 1885
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sauk Centre
Died: January 10, 1951
 35 
Roxane Gay
(Writer Known for Her 2014 Essay Collection 'Bad Feminist')
Roxane Gay
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Roxane Gay is an American writer, editor, professor, and social commentator. She is credited with founding an Illinois-based small press called Tiny Hardcore Press as well as the now-defunct Gay Magazine, which was founded in association with Medium. Roxane Gay is the recipient of a couple of Lambda Literary Awards and an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.

 36 
Edith Wharton
5
Birthdate: January 24, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: August 11, 1937
 37 
Patricia Highsmith
5
Birthdate: January 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died: February 4, 1995
 38 
Robert E. Howard
(Pulp Fiction Writer)
Robert E. Howard
5
Birthdate: January 22, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Peaster
Died: June 11, 1936
 39 
Carson McCullers
(American novelist)
Carson McCullers
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Columbus, Georgia, USA
Died: September 29, 1967
 40 
Raymond Carver
(Short story writer)
Raymond Carver
4
Birthdate: May 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clatskanie, Oregon, United States
Died: August 2, 1988
 41 
Eudora Welty
(Writer)
Eudora Welty
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jackson, Mississippi, United States
Died: July 23, 2001
 42 
Tobias Wolff
(Writer)
Tobias Wolff
3
Birthdate: June 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States
 43 
Tabitha King
(Writer)
Tabitha King
5
Birthdate: March 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Old Town, Maine, USA
 44 
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
(American Aviator and Writer Who Became the First Woman to Receive a U.S. Glider Pilot License)
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey
Died: February 7, 2001

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an American aviator and writer. She is best remembered for her exploratory flights along with her husband and pioneer aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Anne was the first woman to earn a US glider pilot license in 1930. In 1996, Anne Morrow Lindbergh was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 45 
Louis L’Amour
(Novelist)
Louis L’Amour
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: June 10, 1988
 46 
Richard Wright
(Novelist)
Richard Wright
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Roxie, Mississippi, United States
Died: November 28, 1960
 47 
George Saunders
(Best Known for His Debut Novel 'Lincoln in the Bardo')
George Saunders
4
Birthdate: December 2, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amarillo, Texas, United States
 48 
Veronica Roth
(Novelist)
Veronica Roth
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
 49 
Joseph Heller
(Best Known for His Novel "Catch-22.")
Joseph Heller
3
Birthdate: May 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Coney Island, New York, United States
Died: December 12, 1999
 50 
Louis L'Amour
(Novelist)
Louis L'Amour
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: June 10, 1988