1953 in literature
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In poetry: 1950 1951 1952 -1953- 1954 1955 1956
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The year 1953 in literature involved some significant events and new books.
- January 5 - Waiting For Godot, a play by Irish writer Samuel Beckett, has its first public stage première in French as En attendant Godot at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris. Beckett's novel The Unnamable is also published in French this year.
- January 22 - The Crucible, an historical drama by Arthur Miller written as an allegory of McCarthyism, opens on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre.
- February 19 - Censorship: The State of Georgia approves the first literature censorship board in the United States.
- April 13 - The face of popular literature is transformed with the publication of Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel Casino Royale introducing the British spy character James Bond.
- May - Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin is published. In 2001, the semi-autobiographical book will be named as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the editorial board of the American Modern Library.
- July 13 - Opening of first Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada in Stratford, Ontario.
- October 21 - Shortly after being made a Knight Bachelor, English actor Sir John Gielgud is convicted of "persistently importuning male persons for an immoral purpose" (cottaging) in Chelsea, London.
- Ronald Harwood becomes Sir Donald Wolfit's dresser.
- John Dickson Carr writing as "Carter Dickson" publishes his final Sir Henry Merrivale mystery novel.
- After five years as an English teacher, Frederick Buechner moves to New York City to become a full-time writer.
- Federico García Lorca's Obras Completas ("Complete works") are published in Spain as a prohibition on his work is lifted there.
- American novelist Howard Fast is awarded the Stalin Peace Prize.
- Brian O'Nolan is obliged to retire from his senior post in the Civil Service of the Republic of Ireland.
- City Lights Bookstore established in San Francisco by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin.
- Sholom Aleichem - Adventures of Mottel the Cantor's Son (English translation)
- Phyllis Shand Allfrey - The Orchid House
- Isaac Asimov - Second Foundation
- James Baldwin - Go Tell It on the Mountain
- Saul Bellow - The Adventures of Augie March
- Alfred Bester - The Demolished Man
- Zealia Bishop - The Curse of Yig
- Heinrich Böll - And Never Said a Word (Und sagte kein einziges Wort)
- Ray Bradbury
- Gwendolyn Brooks - Maud Martha
- William S. Burroughs - Junkie (as by William Lee)
- John Dickson Carr - The Cavalier's Cup (as by Carter Dickson)
- Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye
- Agatha Christie
- Arthur C. Clarke
- Beverly Cleary - Otis Spofford
- Ivy Compton-Burnett - The Present and the Past
- A. J. Cronin - Beyond This Place
- Roald Dahl - Someone Like You (short stories)
- L. Sprague de Camp
- L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt - Tales from Gavagan's Bar
- Lloyd C. Douglas - The Robe
- Islwyn Ffowc Elis - Cysgod y Cryman ("Shadow of the Sickle")
- Ian Fleming - Casino Royale
- Ernest K. Gann - The High and the Mighty
- Davis Grubb - The Night of the Hunter
- Mark Harris - The Southpaw
- L. P. Hartley - The Go-Between
- James Hilton - Time and Time Again
- David Karp - One
- Wolfgang Koeppen - Das Treibhaus ("The Hothouse")
- Ira Levin - A Kiss Before Dying
- C. S. Lewis - The Silver Chair
- Angus MacVicar - The Lost Planet
- James A. Michener - The Bridges at Toko-Ri
- Zoe B. Oldenbourg - The Cornerstone
- Alan Paton - Too Late the Phalarope
- Mervyn Peake - Mr Pye
- Barbara Pym - Jane and Prudence
- Ellery Queen - The Scarlet Letters
- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings - The Sojourner
- Mary Renault - The Charioteer
- Karl Ristikivi - Hingede öö ("The Night of Souls")
- Alain Robbe-Grillet - Les Gommes ("The Erasers")
- Juan Rulfo - El Llano en llamas ("The Burning Plain", short stories)
- J. D. Salinger - Nine Stories
- Samuel Shellabarger - Lord Vanity
- Wilmar H. Shiras - Children of the Atom
- Rex Stout - The Golden Spiders
- Theodore Sturgeon - More Than Human
- Jim Thompson - Savage Night
- Leon Uris - Battle Cry
- Boris Vian - Heartsnatcher
- A. E. van Vogt - The Universe Maker
- Evelyn Waugh - Love Among the Ruins
- Ben Ames Williams - The Unconquered
- John Wyndham - The Kraken Wakes
- Arthur Adamov - Professor Taranne (Le Professeur Taranne)
- Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot (En attendant Godot)
- Agatha Christie - Witness for the Prosecution
- Max Frisch - The Fire Raisers (Biedermann und die Brandstifter, original version written for radio)
- Witold Gombrowicz - The Marriage (Ślub, Polish version published)
- Arthur Miller - The Crucible
- Erwin Strittmatter - Katzgraben
- George Dangerfield - The Era of Good Feelings (Bancroft Prize)
- L. Sprague de Camp - Science-Fiction Handbook
- Gerald Durrell - The Overloaded Ark
- Lawrence Durrell - Reflections on a Marine Venus
- G. R. Elton - The Tudor Revolution in Government
- Heinrich Harrer - Seven Years in Tibet
- Nancy Mitford - Madame de Pompadour
- Roger Peyrefitte - Les clés de saint Pierre
- Ludwig Wittgenstein - Philosophical Investigations
- January 7 – Dionne Brand, Canadian poet
- February 10 – John Shirley, American science fiction and horror writer
- February 18 – Peter Robinson, English poet
- March 12 – Carl Hiaasen, American journalist and novelist
- March 25 – John Tierney, American journalist
- April 3 – Pieter Aspe (Pierre Aspelag), Belgian crime writer
- April 20 – Sebastian Faulks, English novelist
- May 10 – Christopher Paul Curtis, American children's writer
- May 19 – Victoria Wood, English comedian and writer
- July 29 – Frank McGuinness, Irish dramatist, poet and novelist
- August 1 – Howard Kurtz, American journalist and author
- August 10 – Mark Doty, American poet and memoirist
- September 10 – Pat Cadigan, American science fiction author
- September 23 – Nicholas Witchell, English TV journalist
- November 5 – Joyce Maynard, American memoirist and fiction writer
- Unknown date – George Dyson, American science writer
- April 4 – Rachilde (Marguerite Vallette-Eymery), French author (born 1860)
- April 6 – Idris Davies, Welsh poet in Welsh and English (abdominal cancer, born 1905)
- April 9 – C. E. M. Joad, English philosopher and broadcaster (born 1891)
- April 13 – Alice Milligan, Irish poet (born 1865)
- April 24 – Alfred Vierkandt, German sociologist (born 1867)
- June 5 – Moelona, Welsh-language novelist and translator (born 1877)
- June 25 – Richard Jebb, English journalist (born 1874)
- July 6 – Julia de Burgos, Puerto Rican poet in Spanish (pneumonia, born 1914)
- July 16 – Hilaire Belloc, English humorous poet, essayist and travel writer (born 1870)
- August 30 – Maurice Nicoll, English psychiatrist and writer on psychology (born 1884)
- November 8
- November 9 – Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet and author (pneumonia, born 1914)
- November 27
- November 30 – Francis Picabia, French poet and painter 1879)
- December 8 – Claude Scudamore Jarvis, writer, Arabist and naturalist (born 1879)
- Unknown dates
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Edward Osmond, A Valley Grows Up
- Christopher Award: Marie Killilea, Karen
- Governor General's Award for Poetry or Drama: Douglas LePan, The Net and the Sword 
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Margaret Kennedy, Troy Chimneys
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Carola Oman, Sir John Moore
- National Book Award for Fiction: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Ann Nolan Clark, Secret of the Andes
- Nobel Prize for Literature: Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
- Premio Nadal: Luisa Forrellad, Siempre en capilla
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: William Inge, Picnic
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Archibald MacLeish, Collected Poems 1917-1952
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: Arthur Waley
- "The Top 100? 100 best novels list draws heavy dose of criticism", via CNN. By Jamie Allen, May 6, 1999
- "Fine For "Persistently Importuning"". The Times (52759) (London). 22 October 1953. p. 5.
Described on the charge sheet as a clerk.
- O'Toole, Fintan (2011-01-01). "The Fantastic Flann O'Brien". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2011-10-02.
A combination of his gradually deepening alcoholism and his habit of making derogatory remarks about senior politicians in his newspaper columns led to his forced retirement from the civil service in 1953. (He departed, recalled a colleague, “in a final fanfare of f***s”.)
- "Cumulative List of Winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards", Canada Council. Web, February 10, 2011