Short story collections we loved in 2019

Our staff share some of their favourite short story collections from the past year.

“I enjoyed all the short story collections I read this year. This Taste for Silence was probably my pick for best collection but my favourite short story ‘Further to Fly’ came from Joshua Lobb’s The Flight of Birds. Another enjoyable collection was Fabulous Lives by Bindy Pritchard; the stories here weren’t really themed like a lot of this year’s collections but it was still some great writing.”

Amanda Rayner

This Taste for Silence is a stunning book, and one that I keep hearing people talk about as the year goes on. Its stories are atmospheric and slow-burning, and played on my mind for quite a long time after I finished reading the book. This is Amanda O'Callaghan’s debut book, and it’s a perfect example of how short fiction can put whole worlds into small but perfectly refined packages.

Joey Bui is another debut author, and Lucky Ticket is the kind of short fiction that most excites me. The stories here take place in various corners of the globe, featuring protagonists from all kinds of backgrounds. Look out for this book on next year’s literary prize shortlists.

This year, beloved literary magazine Kill Your Darlings published a short story anthology. This volume truly has something for everyone, and is a wonderful way to discover some excellent emerging Australian writers.”

Ellen Cregan

Salt Slow by Julia Armfield. A breathtaking collection of some of the best short stories I have ever read. Armfield is a master of short fiction and this collection is one to read more than once.”

Tye Cattanach

“I love a short story – it’s the perfect tonic at the end of a day when I’m tired but still want something to ponder. Chris Womersley’s A Lovely and Terrible Thing was a favourite this year, along with Alice Bishop’s A Constant Hum which is truly a gift. Bishop writes about Black Saturday from a place of knowledge, and with a sharpness that caught my breath. I am a huge fan in particular of her microfiction. A line or two and slap – the story hits you over the face. So clever and intoxicating.

This Taste for Silence by Amanda O'Callaghan has a similar affect on me. Her stories are quietly affecting, depicting familiar situations but with an added flicker of angst, or a nod to the bizarre. It is our life reflected there in all its glory in these short story collections – and completely perfect for busy worn-out readers during this busy time of year.”

Chris Gordon

“My stand-out story collection this year was Tove Jannson’s Tales From Moominvalley, which brings together nine stories about the citizens of Moominvalley. I loved every one of them but my favourites were ‘The Last Dragon in the World’ (which made me want to cry) and ‘The Fir Tree’, an utterly enchanting Christmas tale.

This year, I also finally got around to reading a recommendation from a workmate: Katherine Heiny’s Single, Carefree, Mellow, which was just as smart and funny as I’d been promised. And I adored Olive, Again, Elizabeth Strout’s exquisite follow-up to her 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge. One of my favourite fiction reads of the year.”

Bronte Coates

Find even more favourites from the year by browsing the collection below.

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This Taste for Silence

This Taste for Silence

Amanda O'Callaghan

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