Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

20 Must-Read Small Press Short Story Collections and Anthologies

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Annika Barranti Klein

Staff Writer

Annika Barranti Klein likes books, obviously.   Twitter: @noirbettie

Short stories are my one true love in fiction. They’re quick bites in every genre, requiring mastery of both language and story to be effective. Small presses publish work that we might not otherwise have broad access to, and small press short story collections—both single author and anthologies—are abundant these days, and absolute treats. Here are 20 you should consider reading right now.

Small Press Short Story Collections

And I Do Not Forgive You by Amber Sparks (Liveright)

I read most of the stories in this collection on the last airplane ride I took before Stay At Home orders, which sounds bad when I type it out but it’s actually a lovely memory I am holding onto. These stories are wicked and angry and I love them.

Flowers of Mold by Ha Seong-nan, translated by Janet Hong (Open Letter Press)

In these stories, everything is normal until it isn’t. Something menaces in every story from this Korean author.

Folks You Meet in Longs & Other Stories by Lee Cataluna (Bamboo Ridge Press)

Everyday stories of everyday people in Cataluna’s Hawaii neighborhoods.

Ghosts of You Cathy Ulrich coverGhosts of You by Cathy Ulrich (Okay Donkey Press)

These short stories examine the people and truths behind missing and murdered women and girls, taking apart the tropes of mystery and crime writing.

Ghostographs by Maria Romasco Moore (Rose Metal Press)

In this book, Moore masterfully combines vintage photographs with eery flash fiction.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)

I was surprised to learn that this collection was published by a small press! Farrar, Strauss and Giroux distribute, but Graywolf is technically independent.

book cover for How to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capo CrucetHow to Leave Hialeah by Jennine Capó Crucet (University of Iowa Press)

Stories from the Cuban diaspora in the Hispanic working-class neighborhoods of Hialeah in Miami, Florida.

Oye What I’m Gonna Tell You by Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes

Another voice in the Cuban diaspora, Milanes’s stories span WWII-era Havana to contemporary times in “el norte.”

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies (Biblioasis)

Seventeen stories spanning the globe and various genres and described as Mark Twain meets Annie Proulx.

Shut Up You're Pretty coverShut Up, You’re Pretty by Tea Mutonji (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Stories examining femininity: expectations, identity, and more.

Sooner or Later, Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker (Small Beer Press)

Pinsker writes science fiction and fantasy stories that feel like contemporary stories.

Telling The Map by Christopher Rowe (Small Beer Press)

Southern stories including a tie-in novella set in the world of “The Voluntary State,” which won the Hugo for Best Novelette.

Book cover of Tender by Sofia SamatarTender: Stories by Sofia Samatar (Small Beer Press)

The first collection from the frequently anthologized author of The Winged Histories.

White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswar (Dzanc)

A finalist for the PEN American Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection, Bhuvaneswar tells women’s stories.

Small Press Anthologies

Not So Stories edited by David Thomas Moore (Abaddon Books)

Stories by international authors reclaiming Kipling’s colonialist-rooted Just So Stories.

Future Fiction edited by Bill CampbellFuture Fiction edited by Bill Campbell and Francesco Verso (Rosarium Publishing)

Co-edited by an American and an Italian editor, this collection of science fiction includes stories from authors around the world.

LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry From Appalachia edited by Jeff Mann & Julie Watts (WV University Press)

The first of its kind, this collection brings fiction that confronts the “problematic and complex intersections of place, family, sexuality, gender, and religion with which LGBTQ Appalachians often grapple.”

Medusa’s Daughters edited by Theodora Goss (Lanternfish Press)

Historical fantasy author Goss collects here stories by fin-de-siècle women writers of the late 19th century, the often overlooked masters of the gothic.

New Suns edited by Nisi Shawl (Solaris)

This is another small press with a Big Five distributor, in this case Simon & Schuster. New Suns is a collection of speculative fiction written by authors of color, from Tobias Buckell and Silvia Moreno-Garcia to names I haven’t seen before but am anxious to read.

Octavia’s Brood edited by Adrienne Marie Brown (AK Press)

Genre-bending science fiction and essays that examine social justice through the lens of women of color.

That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction (Two Lines Press)

This book collects speculative fiction from Chinese and Hong Kong writers, most translated into English for the first time.

Bonus: Self-Published Story Collections

Monstrosity by Rioter Laura Diaz de Arce

I adore this collection of stories that examine what it means to be a woman and to be monstrous.

They Don’t Make Plus Size Spacesuits by Ali Thompson

A brilliant collection of science fiction stories exploring what it means to be fat in a world that hates fatness—my sole complaint is that there aren’t more stories.