5 Engrossing Short Story Collections Written By Women

Short story collections are great for all kinds of readers, from busy people who only have a little free time each day to those who love the experience of delving into a new fictional world and getting to know fascinating characters. The works listed here are all written by talented women who explore topics ranging from trauma to time travel. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Books Of Short Stories Written By Women

Title Author
Nudibranch Irenosen Okojie
Creature Amina Cain
Come Up and See Me Sometime Erika Krouse
The Reluctant Groom and Other Historical Stories Faith L. Justice
Uncommon Miracles Julie C. Day

Why Read Short Stories?

  • They make it easy to try new genres & authors
  • You'll always get to the end
  • They fit into a busy schedule
  • They can help you establish a daily reading habit

Short Story vs Novel

Short Story Novel
Word Count 1,000 - 20,000 40,000 or more
Story Structure Single event Three-act structure
Main Characters Usually just one Often several
Room for Subplots? No Yes

6 Films Based on Short Stories

  1. The Birds based on the story by Daphne du Maurier
  2. Duel based on the story by Richard Matheson
  3. Children of the Corn based on the story by Stephen King
  4. A Sound of Thunder based on the story by Ray Bradbury
  5. Brokeback Mountain based on the story by Annie Proulx
  6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty based on the story by James Thurber

How to Write a Great Short Story

In Depth

It can be hard to find the time or commitment to delve into a full-length novel. When a challenge like that arises, or when you find yourself simply wanting compelling stories in smaller doses, a short fiction collection can do just the trick. The ones included here, presented in no particular order, showcase an exciting assortment of tales penned by talented, contemporary women authors.

Showing up at #1 is "Nudibranch" by the Nigerian-British writer Irenosen Okojie. Focused on offbeat characters caught up in extraordinary situations, Okojie's imaginative short fiction collection includes stories of sea goddesses, celebrity impersonators, and time-traveling monks. It was championed by Margaret Atwood as a recommended read, and selected by The Guardian and Observer Review as one of the best books of the year.

Equally surreal and dark is Okojie's debut collection, "Speak Gigantular." Its stories feature lovelorn aliens who abduct coffee shop waitresses, ghosts who wander the London Underground, and brave young women who risk their lives for self-empowerment. Okojie also authored the acclaimed magical realist novel "Butterfly Fish," a dual narrative set in contemporary London and 18th-century Benin, Africa. Her other credits include judging awards, moderating panels, and curating projects.

Its stories feature lovelorn aliens who abduct coffee shop waitresses, ghosts who wander the London Underground, and brave young women who risk their lives for self-empowerment.

For #2 we come to "Creature" by Amina Cain, which comprises short stories that are alternately contemplative and unsettling. With a philosophical sensibility and an appreciation for the details of everyday life, Cain presents tales of intimacy, estrangement, resilience, and the quest for self-knowledge. Although often placid on the surface, the book reveals the hidden traumas of its characters and narrators as their stories unfold.

Cain made her debut in 2009 with "I Go To Some Hollow," a collection of fifteen stories that make ordinary worlds seem strange and beautiful. More recent is her novel "Indelicacy," about a cleaning lady at an art museum who marries a wealthy man to escape her lot. Drawing inspiration from such authors as Octavia Butler and Jean Genet, it explores the barriers faced by women in both life and literature. Beyond her books, Cain has co-curated literary events, and is a literature contributing editor at BOMB Magazine.

Landing at #3 is "Come Up and See Me Sometime" by Erika Krouse. Inspired by the liberated spirit of Mae West, this collection encompasses thirteen stories, with each one centered on a young, single, geographically and emotionally autonomous woman. Searching for love and connection, these tenacious female characters grapple with everything from relationships to infertility and loneliness. The book won the Paterson Prize, and has been translated into six languages.

The book won the Paterson Prize, and has been translated into six languages.

Other fiction works by Krouse include her novel "Contenders," about a female street-fighter who steals wallets and takes advantage of malicious men. Everything changes when she is forced to contend with a vengeful cop, and has to take custody of a young niece she never knew she had. On top of her writing, Krouse has 25 years of experience teaching and coaching adult authors at college and postgraduate levels. She offers a range of services, and teaches regularly at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado.

For #4 we have "The Reluctant Groom and Other Historical Stories" by Faith L. Justice, which brings to life historical tales of heroism, love, and adventure. Spanning imperial Rome to colonial America, it features arranged marriages, baleful blizzards, Viking shield maidens, and much more. Creating a loose trilogy, Justice previously released the collections "Slow Death and Other Dark Tales," and "Time Again and Other Fantastic Stories."

Based in Brooklyn, Justice has worked as a paralegal, HR executive, systems analyst, professor, freelance writer, and novelist. Much of her work is historically-oriented, as in her debut novel "Selene of Alexandria," and in the more recent "Twilight Empress." There's also "Tokoyo, the Samurai's Daughter," part of a series of illustrated middle-grade chapter books featuring stories of adventurous girls. Additionally, Justice is the Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine, and a frequent contributor to Strange Horizons.

Based in Brooklyn, Justice has worked as a paralegal, HR executive, systems analyst, professor, freelance writer, and novelist.

Finally, arriving at #5 is "Uncommon Miracles" by Julie C. Day. Boasting eighteen genre-bending fictions, Day's debut collection takes readers from an altered version of Florida's Space Coast to a haunted island off the coast of Maine. Throughout, she combines aspects of Southern Gothic and fabulism to weave strange tales of bunny apocalypses, time travel, and magical slaughterhouses. Day has published many additional short stories, some of which can be found online.

Day's dark, off-kilter sensibility is further reflected in her novella "The Rampant." Set during a seemingly endless apocalypse, it concerns two queer, adolescent female friends who venture into the Sumerian underworld to make things right with the world. Beyond her writing, Day is a reader for a number of podcasts and audio magazines, and is the editor-in-chief of the charity anthology Weird Dream Society, which raises funds for a legal nonprofit helping immigrants and refugees.