Short stories make our day! Many bookworms have reached out to us sharing that even though they’re able to finally get to their TBR books, they miss buying new books. The pandemic has put the publishing industry on hold and none of us are able to buy physical copies of books so we thought of compiling this diverse list of short stories for you that are free to read online. These stories can be consumed in no time but they will keep you thinking for long. We have included a fine selection of Indian writers to this list as well. Just click on the titles of each story below to read the full story for free.
The Bound team absolutely loves speculative fiction. We always turn to Ted Chiang for his soul-stirring and refreshing sci-fi stories! This story is available for free online on SpeedLight Magazine. If you’re looking for fresh, engaging sci-fi stories, you should read other stories in the magazine too.
The voice of the narrator in Chiang’s story instantly keeps you hooked to the story. He is on a mission to find a solution to a problem. Readers who enjoy protagonists who engage in problem solving will relish this story. Chiang knows how to keep the reader invested in his stories by adding relatable elements so even though he discusses concepts alien to the reader and might talk about a world different from ours, we find ourselves immersed in it. Do not miss this brilliant uplifting short story which will urge you to do whatever you can now and make the most of what you have.
This story by Deepak Unnikrishnan defies genres. He was the inaugural winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. This story is published in one of the most prestigious journals, Guernica.
It is a very short story but it allows the reader into the world of the migrant labour in the Gulf and gives us a glimpse into lives we might have otherwise not heard or read of. Unnikrishnan’s stories explores the plight of the immigrant labour in the Gulf using elements of magical realism. You shouldn’t miss out on this fresh voice. Unnikrishnan won many accolades for his book ‘Temporary People’.
Tanuj Solanki won the Sahitya Academy Award for his short story collection. His book ‘The Machine is Learning’ is out now. This short story is published in one of the renowned short story magazines in India called ‘Out of Print’. The Bound team loved this short story for its style and engaging plot.
It is a pastiche of Alan Rossi’s ‘The Problem At Hand’ which is published in AGNI, a prestigious journal. The lizard has a major role to play in this story and we liked how the author has weaved the plot around it. The title promised ‘an issue’. Why not read the story to find out what the issue is?
The literature world would have missed out on a lot had it not been for Adichie’s rich stories. You should check out her TED talk ‘The Danger of the Single Story’ if you haven’t already.
Adichie is one of those storytellers whose stories make you look at the world differently. Olikoye is a story within a story and makes us introspect about existence. It tells a lot in a few words.
Many writers feel pressured into writing novels to get noticed. Munro did it without writing one. She won the Nobel for her short stories. This story is published in The New Yorker, the Holy Grail of literary fiction. We enjoyed this short story for its exploration of identity and interesting narrator.
It made us think of what defines us? The narrator in this story is born with a birthmark on his face and how does it affect him? We love Munro’s finesse at addressing difficult topics. You should read this story if you are willing to be immersed in an intense well-told story.
The Lottery is one of those stories that shook us. You can’t unread this story. If you’re looking for your world to be shaken, then do read this. Jackson was a very talented horror fiction writer. This story keeps you hooked until the end and ends with a punch to your gut.
While the plot is shocking and almost unbelievable it is also quite relatable. It addresses the evils of society and makes you think about a lot of things like blind faith, customs, herd mentality and more.
Jahnavi Barua is one of the most talented storytellers in India now. We loved her books ‘Next Door’ and ‘Rebirth’. Her novel ‘Rebirth’ was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her third book ‘Undertow’ is currently out.
We’re huge fans of her prose. Her language is bare but rich. This story in Out of Print is a simple but layered tale about a couple who goes birdwatching. What will happen to them by the end of the story?
Junot Diaz’s narrators make you want more of him. The voice of his narrators are unique. We loved this short story for its satirical tone. Once you beginning read this short story, you won’t even realise when you reach the end, it’s that gripping! This brilliant short story is again from The New Yorker. It reads like an instruction manual for dating and we think you should read it now.
The narrator in this story is a bachelor who shops in a supermarket. We loved the way Parikh accesses the middle-class bachelor’s psyche. This story won the TOTO Award for Creative Writing. As we follow the narrator throughout, we adopt his skin and become him.
We especially liked the use of second person narration which is quite difficult to pull off. It is published in Identity Theory, an online journal that publishes quality fiction.
Anjum Hasan is one of the most talented writers in India now. She is on the judging panel of many literary contests. This story of hers is published in GRANTA, another prestigious journal.
We read this journal when we look for quality fiction. We follow the journey of two female characters in the story and we are held in Hasan’s grip to find out what happens next. We enjoyed her short story collections, novels and poetry.
If you’re looking for an entertaining story then read this right now! This story will make you go through a plethora of emotions. Dahl has peppered the prose with suspense, humour and many more elements.
The character Mary Maloney will haunt you long after you’re done with the story. Roald Dahl was a master storyteller and this story is proof of it. We always reread this story if we’re looking for a thrilling story.
We love Mukherjee’s prose. She is another talented contemporary writer from India. This short story is published in Out of Print Magazine. We love the way Mukherjee’s narrators often grapple with issues that consume them.
The intensity of her plots keep you hooked. Her book ‘The Body Myth’ has been published by Penguin India.
We love Janice Pariat’s prose. She had won the Sahitya Academy Yuva Puraskar in 2013. This story of hers has stayed with us for a very long time because of its haunting plot. We learnt that this story is based on a true incident in her life and it left us heartbroken.
Pariat explores the topics of vouyerism, gender violence and much more in this story. It is published in the Out of Print blog, a gender violence special issue.
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Michelle D’costa is a Mangalorean from Mumbai. She was born and raised in Bahrain. Her poetry and prose has been published in over 50 literary journals like Eclectica, Litro UK, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Coldnoon and more. She loves to interview writers. Her debut full-length short story and poetry collections are complete. She edits Kaani, an ezine for fiction. She talks about books on YouTube and blogs on WordPress.
Rheea Rodrigues Mukherjee is the author of The Body Myth (Unnamed Press /Penguin India 2019) which was shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live First Book Award. Her work has been published and featured in Scroll.in, Southern Humanities Review, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Vogue India, Out of Print, TBLM, and Bengal Lights, among others. She co-founded Bangalore Writers Workshop in 2012 and currently co-runs Write Leela Write, a Design and Content Laboratory in Bangalore, India. Rheea has an MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts.