Genre guide – Short stories

This page links to recommended reading lists of short stories in a variety of genres as well as other short fiction resources. It also lists authors whose work you may like to try - including familiar names and some that may be new to you.

Short stories are usually able to be read in a single sitting so are great for people who don't have much time to read. With relatively few pages to tell a story in, you'll find the action and character development happens quickly. Short stories often pack a punch in terms of conflict, emotional involvement or the journey of the key character.

Short story collections sometimes pull together the work of a single author, or may be centred around a common theme.

Short story authors:

Recommended reading

Aotearoa/New Zealand short stories

Stories written by a range of Kiwi authors, from classic literary greats Katherine Mansfield and C. K. Stead through to the fresh talent of Micheal Botur and Amy Head. Written with passion and integrity, the stories explore what it means to be a Kiwi though evocative depictions of serious issues and whimsical imaginings.

Contemporary short stories

Short form fiction that is all about our world as it is now - realistic plot-lines, characters, and experiences. It may focus on personal or social challenges. It can be serious or more light-hearted. These stories are by a range of different authors who specialise in writing short stories (though you may recognise some as having written novels as well). If you enjoy stories with recognisable people, settings, and experiences why not try a contemporary short story?

Mystery/Thriller Adventure short stories

The skill required to set up and execute a perfectly balanced murder mystery in limited pages is not to be underestimated. All of your favourite investigators are here and have each had the short story treatment, so enjoy the twists and turns in the short format. 


Not quite a novel but longer than a short story; here's a list of great reads in the shorter form of a novella, including stories from all over the world, across many genres and eras. There are some big names in this list and it's a great way to read some classics without committing to a hefty tome! From H.G. Wells and Ottesha Moshfegh, to Ian McEwan and Nora Ephron - there's something here for all tastes and all easily read in a session or two.

Sci-fi, Horror and Fantasy short stories

A selection of short fiction anthologies by influential authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Consult this list for short but affecting tales of the supernatural, the dark arts, space exploration, alternate worlds, or horrific goings on.

Short story graphic novel collections

Enjoy this graphic novel collection of short and sweet (or hilarious, or terrifying, or inspiring) stories. Tales from New Zealand writers, manga artists and award winners. 

For more short stories try:

Award winners


Poetry & Short Story Reference Centre

Access this full-text resource for thousands of classic and contemporary poems, as well as short stories, biographies and authoritative essays on such topics as poetic forms, movements and techniques. Access this with your library card number and password / PIN, or at our libraries.

In the catalogue: