Short Short Stories

Headline proclaiming the separation of Victoria from New South Wales, 1850. (
Headline proclaiming the separation of Victoria from New South Wales, 1850. (

One-word story

She-male from Indonesia Barbecued till Police Came after the Smell Where-else but


Six-word stories

  1. Title: He’s Dead but Still Lives
  2. In prison, mind still making love
  3. Why do I love hate so?
  4. Can we wait/make it happen?
  5. Hand-cuffed to penis as ciggy, mouth.
  6. Recognition finds him dead, so rich.
  7. Life loves death that loves life.
  8. Love you, she said, years ago.
  9. Her name, Mary, now is Mark.
  10. He fucked her thinking of her.
  11. 1,000,000,000: 1 gone, all zeroes.
  12. He is mining, in the sky.
  13. He translated love into hate, deliberately.
  14. Why I love darkness so much?
  15. Sky, an umbrella, but that leaks.
  16. You expect congratulations that never come.
  17. Lovers by your side, flowers dead.
  18. Bombs, bombers, bombing: all US made.
  19. Beautiful food today, stinking shit tomorrow.
  20. Ming comes to my dream, uninvited.
  21. Go to jail if you haven’t.
  22. Eyes are but two glasses, wining.
  23. 6-word stories are longer than five.
  24. Rejected by all before winning alone.
  25. Dying either in action or trans/action.
  26. They answered his emails: Got it!
  27. His letter began: Are you ok?
  28. Eleven Jinping. Anchor sacked. India shocked.
  29. Paper doesn’t hold the water, either.
  30. One-eyed dragon. The sky. Watching blind.
  31. Too pretty to approach, she invites.
  32. The machine, loyal, stays till unwanted.
  33. Poetry: unwanted, for free or sale.
  34. Reading’s dead. Writing lives, for eating.
  35. A. US. Tri. Lia. (r).
  36. Long time no see. No fuck.
  37. Love you. Fucking you. Fuck you!
  38. Lied together. Fucked together. Parted forever.
  39. Promise: Never tell. Told shortly after.
  40. Her boyfriend is also her boyfriend.
  41. Waking up, he found himself dead.
  42. Biog: Ouyang Yu, alive and writing.
  43. Death lives, dies, like love, lies.
  44. One’s one less; two’s too many.


Stories over 20 words


‘How correct can you be political?’
‘I’m sorry?’ said she.
‘Go on saying sorry,’ said he. ‘You are not the only one.’


V called and said, ‘Do you know what? Here in India, wherever I go and whatever I read, there is nothing about Australia. Absolutely nothing. They think they are something. But there is nothing about it.’

At time of writing, I recall he said that at least 10 years ago. Shortly after he came back, he died in Australia where he had resided over 50 years.


‘I’m going to photocopy the whole book,’ said X. ‘Instead of buying a copy, which is so bloody expensive from China.’

‘By all means,’ said Y.

‘After all,’ said X. ‘It’s them who first took our ancient relics without bothering about copyright and when the stolen things were officially theirs, like Australia, they made the law, barring the rest of the world from photobloodycopying.’

‘What’s that got to do with Australia, a pretty innocent country,’ said Y.

‘Oh, don’t you bloody know? It’s originally Aboriginal. They ought to return the land to them first thing.’

‘You are joking.’

‘No, I’m going to write about it. And I’m going to make them photocopy it.’

Author: Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu came to Australia at the age of 35, and, by 57, has published 65 books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, literary translation and criticism in English and Chinese languages, including his award-winning novel, The Eastern Slope Chronicle (2002); his collection of poetry in English, The Kingsbury Tales (2008); his collection of Chinese poetry, Slow Motion (2009); his book of creative non-fiction, On the Smell of an Oily Rag: Speaking English, Thinking Chinese and Living Australian (2008); his book of literary criticism, Chinese in Australian Fiction: 1888-1988 (2008), and his translation in Chinese, The Fatal Shore (forthcoming in 2012). His second novel, The English Class (2010), won the Community Relations Commission Award in the 2011 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, as well as short-listed for the 2011 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the 2011 Western Australia Premier’s Awards and Queensland Premier’s Awards. Ouyang Yu was nominated one of the Top 100 Most Influential Melbournians for the year 2011 as well as the Top 10 most influential Chinese writers in the Chinese diaspora. Ouyang is now professor of English at Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.

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