“In 1988, there appeared a longer piece of fiction, the novella titled The Brain of Katherine Mansfield..." Imagination and the Creative Impulse in the New Literatures in English, edited by Maria Teresa Bindella, Geoffrey V. Davis (1993).
"The Brain of Katherine Mansfield: Bill Manhire's interactive adventure novella edited in a hypertext edition by Richard Easther and Jolisa Gracewood."
(Hello! Jolisa Gracewood edited Bill Manhire's novella into hypertext? In 1997? Sixteen years ago! What a coincidence and what a collective memory blank the rigidly prescriptive Twitter conversation**** appears to reveal!)
Was it poetry? Or fiction? Or non-fiction? It sure wasn't a children's book. Does it matter? It was fun, and clever.
I suppose if I were churlish I might have observed that the text of the book with its seven short stanzas "was barely the length of a sonnet!!"
Oscar Wilde's The Selfish Giant often appears as a standalone publication beautifully presented, loved by children and parents alike. But while we're counting, Wilde's story is fewer than two thousand words in length. About a third the size of The Mijo Tree.
According to Umberto Eco, the world's shortest novel is the Italian "El Dinosaurio" ("The Dinosaur") by Augusto Monterroso:
"Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí."
("When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.")
**** Literary elder has an attack of the prescriptives (move over, CK Stead!):
The shortest novella in the world: http://t.co/uaaS6uybgy
— Bill Manhire (@pacificraft) November 19, 2013