Need something to read while you isolate? Here are 73 Canadian short stories available free online
Kevin Hardcastle curated this list of stories to read
Kevin Hardcastle is an author from Ontario. His debut short story collection, Debris, won the Trillium Book Award in 2016 and his first novel, In the Cage, came out in 2017. He posted a roundup of short stories to read online on his personal website. This is an updated and adapted version of that original list.
You can read a story by Hardcastle, Montana Border, that was published by The Walrus.
Why Kevin curated this list
"The past few months have been filled with uncertainty and unforeseen challenges for almost everybody, including those who write, publish and sell literature across the country. Books that were to launch this spring and summer have had to be released into the world without in-person readings and tour appearances. Festivals have had their authors and panellists recreate the experience online, as best they can, and as long as they have enough Internet to make it happen. Publishing houses are trying to find ways to draw attention to new books and voices and some authors have been left to do what they can to promote their work, while at the mercy of an industry scrambling to adapt.
"Nonetheless, people are sharing their own work and the work of writers that they admire. Those who love books have been doing what they can to keep people connected. The Writers' Trust has run online panels and created a fund for writers in need. The FOLD broadcast their festival online and continue on with their webinar series, giving crucial voices a platform. Renowned writers like David Robertson, Heather O'Neill, Vivek Shraya and Waubgeshig Rice have been reading prose and poetry or talking to their readers live on social media. Independent booksellers are delivering books or leaving them curbside so that we can stay home and get lost in those stories for a time.
"But literature might still be hard to come by for readers who are unable to afford new books or who are in rural areas without access to booksellers, reliable Internet and, of course, their public libraries.
"Luckily, there is a treasure trove of short fiction that has been published in journals over the years, and much of it actually published or archived online. The writing community I found, and some of the best new writing I read in past years, came as a result of writing, reading, and sharing short fiction. So I thought that curating a list of short stories by Canadian, Indigenous and Métis authors would be a fine way to read some literature and to lend support. Many of those on the list have books out recently, or right now, and perhaps this is a way to lead readers further to those.
"Here are some stories by writers you may or may not know, along with stories that have been discovered through the CBC Short Story Prize."
Samuel Archibald is a Montreal-based short story writer. His debut collection of short stories entitled Arvida — which is also the name of Archibald's hometown in Quebec — was nominated for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist in Combat des Livres 2013, defended by Bernard Landry. The book was translated from French to English by Donald Winkler.
Three Tshakapesh Dreams was published by The Walrus.
André Babyn is a writer and editor from Toronto. His short stories have ben published in Maisonneuve, the Fanzine, Hobart and Grain. His novel Evie of the Deepthorn was published in spring 2020.
Imperfect Homes was published by Hobart Pulp.
Carleigh Baker is a nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân/Icelandic writer from Vancouver. Her debut short story collection, Bad Endings, won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction.
War of Attrition was published by Joyland.
Sharon Bala was born in Dubai and currently lives in St. John's. Butter Tea at Starbucks won the Writers' Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2017. Her debut novel, The Boat People, was defended by Mozhdah Jamalzadah on Canada Reads 2018.
Butter Tea at Starbucks was published by The New Quarterly.
Kris Bertin is a writer from Halifax. He won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for his debut short story collection Bad Things Happen. He is also the author of the short story collection Use Your Imagination! and the graphic novel The Case of The Missing Men, which was illustrated by Alexander Forbes.
Cowan was published by The Walrus.
Shashi Bhat is a writer, the editor of Event Magazine and a creative writing instructor at Douglas College in B.C. She won the 2018 Journey Prize for the story Mute. She is the author of the novel The Family Took Shape. She is working on a novel called The Most Precious Substance on Earth and a book of short stories.
The Most Precious Substance on Earth was published by The New Quarterly.
Kerry Clare is a writer in Toronto. She blogs at Pickle Me This and is the editor of the website 49th Shelf. Mitzi Bytes is her debut novel. Her second novel, Wait for a Star to Fall, will be published in fall 2020.
Happy Trails was published by The New Quarterly.
Megan Gail Coles is a playwright from St. John's. She is the author of short story collection Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome and the novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club. Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club will be defended on Canada Reads 2020 by YouTuber Alayna Fender.
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club was published by Joyland.
Paige Cooper is an author and short story writer from Montreal. Her work has appeared in The Journey Prize Stories and Best Canadian Stories anthologies. Her first published book, the short story collection Zolitude, was on the longlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.
Moriah was published by Gulf Coast.
Trevor Corkum is a writer and teacher who lives in Toronto and Prince Edward Island. He has been nominated for the Journey Prize, a National Magazine Award, a Western Magazine Award, the CBC Short Story Prize and the CBC Nonfiction Prize. He was on the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Saving Face. His debut novel, The Electric Boy, is forthcoming.
Esperanza was published by Joyland.
Nancy Jo Cullen is a fiction writer and poet living in Toronto. She is the author of the novel The Western Alienation Merit Badge, the short story collection Canary and three poetry collections: Science Fiction Saint, untitled child and Pearl.
Hashtag Maggie Vandermeer was published by This Magazine.
Craig Davidson is a writer originally from St. Catharines, Ont. He has published several works of fiction, including Cataract City, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2013, Rust and Bone, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name, The Fighter and The Saturday Night Ghost Club. He is also the author of the memoir Precious Cargo, which was defended by Greg Johnson on Canada Reads 2018. He also writes horror novels under the name Nick Cutter.
Firebugs was published by The Walrus.
Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor currently living in Vancouver. Her books include Red Rooms, The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy, Empire of Wild and The Marrow Thieves. The Marrow Thieves won the Governor General's Literary Award for Young people's literature — text and the Kirkus Prize for young readers' literature. It is currently being adapted for television. The Marrow Thieves was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.
Tamas Dobozy is a writer and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. His short story collection Siege 13 won the Rogers' Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. The collection was also a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.
Spires was published by The New Quarterly.
Erin Frances Fisher is a writer and musician based in Victoria. She published her debut short story collection, That Tiny Life, in 2018 and was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson fiction Prize and Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Her work has been published in publications like Granta, Little Fiction, The Malahat Review and PRISM international.
The Goddess Lisa was published by Little Fiction.
Cynthia Flood's most recent books include the short story collections What Can You Do and Red Girl Rat Boy, which was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her stories have won the Journey Prize and a National Magazine Award. She lives in Vancouver.
What Can You Do was published by The New Quarterly.
Andrew Forbes's first short story collection What You Need was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and Trillium Book Award. His stories have been published widely, appearing in publications like The Feathertale Review, Little Fiction, PRISM International, New Quarterly and Maisonneuve Magazine. He is based in Peterborough, Ont.
What You Need was published by Little Fiction.
Kathy Friedman's work has been published in many literary magazines, including The New Quarterly, PRISM International, Geist and Room. She was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Friedman teaches creative writing at the University of Guelph.
Masada was published by The New Quarterly.
Bill Gaston is a novelist, playwright and short story writer. He won the CBC Short Story Prize in 1998 and his previous two short story collections — Gargoyles and Juliet Was a Surprise — were finalists for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. His other books include A Mariner's Guide to Self Sabotage, Just Let Me Look at You and The Good Body.
Kiint was published by The New Quarterly.
Seyward's debut collection of stories is Even That Wildest Hope, published in 2019. Her stories have been nominated for the McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, a National Magazine Award and the CBC Short Story Prize longlist. She lives in Winnipeg.
What Bothers a Woman of the World was published by Cosmonauts Avenue.
Jane Eaton Hamilton is an award-winning writer whose work spans fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Their books include love will burst into a thousand shapes, Hunger and July Nights. They have twice won the CBC Short Story Prize and their work has been included in the Journey Prize Anthology and Best Canadian Stories.
Khalida Venus Hassan is a short story writer and literary assistant based in Toronto. In 2018, she was a finalist for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She is working on her first collection of short stories.
Complicit was published by The Puritan.
Alix Hawley is a writer from B.C. She won the 2017 CBC Short Story Prize for her story Witching. She was also the winner of the 2015 Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her debut novel, All True Not a Lie in It, a book that fictionalized the life of Pennsylvania Quaker Daniel Boone. Her 2018 novel My Name is a Knife continues the story of Daniel Boone.
Andrew Hood has published two short story collections, The Cloaca and Pardon Our Monsters, the latter of which won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award in 2007. His work has appeared in publications like Maisonneuve, PRISM International and The New Quarterly. Hood lives in Guelph, Ont.
Don't Come In Here was published by The Coast.
David Huebert won the CBC Short Story Prize in 2016 and went on to publish a full collection of short fiction, titled Peninsula Sinking. The book won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award and was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Prize and Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Huebert is from Halifax.
Amy Jones debut novel, We're All in this Together, was a national bestseller and finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Her most recent book is the novel Every Little Piece of Me. She currently lives in Toronto.
The Very First Girl in the World to Win the Dakar was published by The Puritan.
Daniel Sarah Karasik has published drama, poetry and fiction. Their books include Faithful and Other Stories, Hungry and Little Death. They live in Toronto. They won the 2012 CBC Short Story Prize.
Cody Klippenstein is an award-winning short story writer. Her work has won the Zoetrope: All-Story short fiction contest and The Fiddlehead Short Fiction contest. She splits her time between Canada and the U.S.
Thrown Overboard, Manacled in a Box was published by Joyland.
Michael LaPointe is a writer and critic based in Toronto. His work has been published in The Atlantic, The New Yorker and the New York Times. He is also a columnist for The Paris Review. His debut novel, The Creep, will be published in 2021.
The Stunt was published by Hazlitt.
Amanda Leduc is the author of The Miracles of Ordinary Men and Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space. She lives in Hamilton, Ont.
River House was published by The New Quarterly.
Canisia Lubrin is a poet and author based in Whitby, Ont. She has published two collections, her debut Voodoo Hypothesis, which received multiple award nominations, and her latest, The Dzygraphxst, published in March 2020.
The Origin of the Lullaby was published by Joyland.
Born in Inverness, Cape Breton and raised in Windsor, Ont., Alexander MacLeod is a short story writer and academic. His debut short story collection Light Lifting was shortlisted for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Commonwealth Prize. It won the Atlantic Book Award.
Lagomorph was published by Granta.
Pasha Malla was born in St. John's, grew up in London, Ont. and now lives in Toronto. Malla's debut short story collection, The Withdrawal Method, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and his first novel, People Park, was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
One Hundred Knives in the Air was published by The Walrus.
J.R. McConvey is a writer and documentary producer from Toronto. His work has appeared in publications like The Malahat Review, Joyland and others. His debut short story collection was Different Beasts, publihsed in September 2019.
Neutral Buoyancy was published by Joyland.
Sophie McCreesh is a fiction writer based in Toronto. Her work has been appeared in Peach Mag, Bad Dog Review, Hobart Pulp and other publications.
Hard to Know was published by Hobart Pulp.
Sarah Meehan Sirk is a radio producer and writer. Her first book was the short story collection, The Dead Husband Project. She lives in Toronto.
In the Dark was published by Joyland.
Michael Melgaard is a short story writer from Toronto. He published his first collection of short fiction, Pallbearing, in 2020. His work has appeared in Joyland, Bad Nudes, The Puritan and other publications.
Harold was published by Joyland.
John Metcalf is the author of over a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction. His books include Standing Stones: Selected Stories, Adult Entertainment and Kicking Against the Pricks. Now a fiction editor at Biblioasis, Metcalf lives in Ottawa.
Lives of the Poets was published by The New Quarterly.
K.D. Miller is the author of seven books — five short story collections, a novel and an essay collection. Her latest is the short fiction collection Late Breaking, which was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Late Breaking was published by The New Quarterly.
Leah Mol has an MFA in creative writing from UBC. She works as a proofreader, writer and piano teacher. She currently lives in Toronto.
Pamela Mordecai is a poet and fiction writer who lives in Kitchener, Ont. Her books include the poetry collection Journey Poem, short story collection Pink Icing and novel Red Jacket, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2015.
Goat Mouth was published by The New Quarterly.
Sofia Mostaghimi is a fiction writer and editor based in Toronto. Her work has been longlisted for hte Journey Prize and published in The Puritan and The Unpublished City. She is currently workng on a novel called, Desperada.
Bliss was published by The Puritan.
Property of Neil was published by Joyland.
Grace O'Connell is the author of the novels Be Ready for the Lightning and Magnified World. Her writing has appeared in publications like The Walrus, the Globe and Mail and Elle Canada. She lives in Toronto.
The Many Faces of Montgomery Clift was published by Taddle Creek.
Heather O'Neill became the first back-to-back finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize when her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and short story collection Daydreams of Angels were shortlisted in consecutive years. Her latest books are the novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel and nonfiction book Wisdom in Nonsense. She lives in Montreal.
A Song for Robin was published by Literary Hub.
Born in the U.K., writer Kathy Page now lives in Salt Spring Island, B.C. Her books include Alphabet, which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction, and the short story collections Paradise & Elsewhere and The Two of Us, both of which were longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her latest book is the novel Dear Evelyn, which won the 2018 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
The House on Manor Close was published by The New Quarterly.
Julie Paul is a fiction writer and poet who lives in Victoria, B.C. She's published three short story collections, Meteorites, The Pull of the Moon and The Jealousy Bone, and one poetry collection, The Rules of the Kingdom.
Accidental was published by The New Quarterly.
Ryan Paterson's writing has appeared in Riddle Fence and Write Across Canada: An Anthology of Emerging Writers. He lives in Windsor, Ont.
Had It and Lost It was published by The New Quarterly.
Krzysztof Pelc is a professor of political science at McGill University. He is the author of Making and Bending International Rules, about the ways international law deals with unexpected events, and he is completing a novel, titled The Sexual Lives of Plants, about lust, language and authoritarianism.
Daniel Perry has published two collections of short fiction, Nobody Looks That Young Here and Hamburger. His work has appeared in publications like The Dalhousie Review, Exile, Little Fiction and others. He lives in Toronto.
Chaser was published by Little Fiction.
Sara Peters has published two books, 1996 and I Become a Delight to My Enemies. She is currently a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Peters lives in Toronto.
I Know What You Are, and Real was published by Sara Peters.
Zoey Leigh Peterson has published short fiction in The Walrus, EVENT, Grain, PRISM International, Best Canadian Stories and other publications. Her debut novel Next Year, For Sure was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2017.
How Long and What a Marvel was published by The Walrus.
Casey Plett is the author of the novel Little Fish and the short story collection A Safe Girl to Love. She is also co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy From Transgender Writers. She has written for The New York Times, Maclean's, and The Walrus, among other publications. She is a winner of the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, a Stonewall Book Award, a Firecracker Award, and two-time winner of a Lambda Literary Award.
A Love Like in the Movies was published by Rookie Mag.
Alex Pugsley is a writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Brick, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly and other publications. His book, Aubrey McKee, will be published in June 2020. Pugsley lives in Nova Scotia.
Gail in Winter was published by The New Quarterly.
Natasha Ramoutar is a writer based in Scarborough, Ont. Her work has been published in The Unpublished City II, PRISM Magazine, Room and other places. Her first poetry book, Bittersweet, will be published in 2020.
Summer '16 was published by Open Book.
Rudrapriya Rathore is a fiction writer who has published work in the Hart House Review, The Puritan and The Walrus. She received the Irving Layton Award for fiction in 2014. She lives in Toronto.
Heart Lake was published by Joyland.
We Walked on Water was published by Granta.
Naben Ruthnum is a Journey Prize-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in Globe and Mail, Hazlitt and The Walrus. His books include the longform essay Curry and thrillers, Find You in the Dark and Your Life is Mine.
Common Whipping was published by Granta.
Anakana Schofield is an Irish-Canadian novelist based in Vancouver. She is also the author of Martin John, which was a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her debut novel, Malarky, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. Her latest book Bina was released in 2019.
Beneath the Taps: A Testimonial was published by The New Quarterly.
Troy Sebastian is a Ktunaxa writer and poet. He is currently nominated for two National Magazine Awards for articles published in The Walrus. His writing has also appeared in The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review and Ktuqckakyam. He was longlisted for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize.
New Year's Eve 1984 was published by The New Quarterly.
Andrew F. Sullivan is a writer based in Hamilton. His work has been nominated for National Magazine Awards and appeared in The Globe and Mail and The Walrus. His books include the novel Waste and short story collection All We Want is Everything.
Goat was published by Joyland.
Jess Taylor is the author of two collections of short fiction, Just Pervs and Pauls. She has won a National Magazine Award for her short fiction and been longlisted for the Journey Prize. She lives in Toronto.
Multicoloured Lights was published by Notes and Queries.
Souvankham Thammavongsa is an award-winning poet whose collections include the Trillium Book Award winner Light and the ReLit Award winner Small Arguments. Her most recent books are the poetry collection Cluster and short story collection How to Pronounce Knife.
Mom is in Love with Randy Travis was published by Electric Literature.
Daniel Scott Tysdal is an award-winning poet whose books include The Mourner's Book of Albums and Predicting the Next Big Advertising Breakthrough Using a Potentially Dangerous Method. He teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
1 Dog, 1 Knife was published by The Puritan.
Richard Van Camp is a Tlicho Dene writer from Fort Smith, N.W.T. who has written over 20 books across multiple genres. His graphic novel A Blanket of Butterflies was nominated for an Eisner Award and his children's book Little You, illustrated by Julie Flett, was translated into Bush Cree, Plains Cree, South Slavey and Chipewyan.
Van Camp's seminal 1996 novel The Lesser Blessed was adapted into a film by First Generation Films. His other books include Moccasin Square Gardens, Angel Wing Splash Pattern, Night Moves and We Sang You Home.
Show Me Yours was published by The Walrus.
Jack Wang is a fiction writer from Vancouver, B.C. His forthcoming books include We Two Alone, a novella and stories to be published in 2020, and The Riveters, a novel scheduled for 2024.
The Night of Broken Glass was published by The New Quarterly.
Jessica Westhead is the author of the novel Pulpy & Midge and the short story collection And Also Sharks. Her latest is the novel Worry, which was on the Canada Reads 2020 longlist. She lives in Toronto.
Swimming Lesson was published by Joyland.
Ian Williams is a Vancouver-based poet, fiction writer and academic from Brampton, Ont. His debut novel Reproduction won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He is also the author of the Griffin Poetry Prize-nominated poetry collection Personals and the short fiction collection Not Anyone's Anything.
I Want It All, I Want it Now was published by Fashion.
D. W. Wilson is the author of Once You Break a Knuckle, a collection of short stories, and Ballistics, a novel. In 2011 he won the BBC National Short Story Award for The Dead Roads. He won the Manchester Fiction Prize and the CBC Short Story Prize in 2015.
Catriona Wright has published a poetry collection, Table Manners, as well as a collection of short fiction, Difficult People. Her work has appeared in publications like Geist, Joyland, Grain and Room. She is the poetry editor at The Puritan.
Difficult People was published by Joyland.