1973 in literature
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In poetry: 1970 1971 1972 -1973- 1974 1975 1976
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The year 1973 in literature involved several significant events and the writing of many notable books.
- July 26 – Peter Shaffer's drama Equus is premiered in London by the National Theatre company at The Old Vic.
- September 16 – Chilean poet and playwright Víctor Jara, having been detained four days earlier as a political prisoner in Estadio Chile and tortured during the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, is shot and killed. His last poem Estadio Chile is preserved in memories and scraps of paper retained by fellow detainees.
- September 25 – The funeral of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda becomes a focus for protests against the new government of Augusto Pinochet.
- c. December 27 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel The Gulag Archipelago (Архипелаг ГУЛАГ, written 1958–1968) is first published, by the Paris publisher Éditions du Seuil from a typescript smuggled out of the Soviet Union.
- Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita (Ма́стер и Маргари́та) is first published complete in the Soviet Union (in the form left at the author's death in 1940), by Khudozhestvennaya Literatura.
- Frank Herbert becomes director-photographer of the television show, The Tillers.
- Robert B. Parker starts the Spenser book series.
- Virago Press is established in the U.K. by Carmen Callil, primarily to publish classic books by women writers.
- The Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts is founded.
- New orthography for the Greenlandic language is introduced.
- Martin Amis – The Rachel Papers
- Ernest Becker – The Denial of Death
- Thomas Berger - Regiment of Women
- Joseph Payne Brennan – Stories of Darkness and Dread
- Rita Mae Brown – Rubyfruit Jungle
- John Brunner - The Stone That Never Came Down
- Ramsey Campbell – Demons by Daylight
- Jerome Charyn – Tar Baby
- Agatha Christie – Postern of Fate
- Basil Copper – From Evil's Pillow
- Julio Cortázar – Libro de Manuel (A manual for Manuel)
- L. Sprague de Camp – The Fallible Fiend
- L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp, editors – Tales Beyond Time
- August Derleth – The Chronicles of Solar Pons
- Michael Ende – Momo
- Paul E. Erdman – The Billion Dollar Sure Thing
- J. G. Farrell; The Siege of Krishnapur
- Leon Forrest – There Is A Tree More Ancient Than Eden
- William Goldman – The Princess Bride
- Graham Greene - The Honorary Consul
- Elisabeth Harvor, Women and Children 11 stories (revised as Our Lady of All Distances, 1991)
- James Jones – A Touch of Danger
- Anna Kavan – Who Are You?
- Brian Killick – The Heralds
- Dean R. Koontz – Demon Seed
- Jerzy Kosinski – The Devil Tree
- Milan Kundera – Life Is Elsewhere (Život je jinde, first published in French as La vie est ailleurs)
- Robert Ludlum – The Matlock Paper
- John D. MacDonald – The Turquoise Lament
- Cormac McCarthy – Child of God
- Ruth Manning-Sanders – A Book of Ogres and Trolls
- Robert Marasco – Burnt Offerings
- Toni Morrison – Sula
- Iris Murdoch – The Black Prince
- Tim O'Brien – If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home
- Robert B. Parker – The Godwulf Manuscript
- Mervyn Peake – The Rhyme of the Flying Bomb (posthumously published)
- Robert M. Pirsig – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- Anthony Powell – Temporary Kings
- Thomas Pynchon – Gravity's Rainbow
- Irwin Shaw – Evening in Byzantium
- Doris Buchanan Smith – A Taste of Blackberries
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – The Gulag Archipelago (Архипелаг ГУЛАГ)
- Rex Stout – Please Pass the Guilt
- Jacqueline Susann – Once Is Not Enough
- Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
- Jack Vance – The Anome
- Mario Vargas Llosa - Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (Pantaleón y las visitadoras)
- Gore Vidal – Burr
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. – Breakfast of Champions
- Patrick White – The Eye of the Storm
- Rudy Wiebe – Temptations of Big Bear
- Venedikt Yerofeyev – Moscow-Petushki (Moscow to the end of the line; first commercial publication, in Israel)
- Roger Zelazny
- Allan W. Eckert – The Court-Martial of Daniel Boone
- Antonia Fraser – Cromwell, our Chief of Men
- Peter Maas – Serpico
- Tim O'Brien – If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Send Me Home
- Bill Owens – Suburbia
- John Pearson – James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007
- Flora Rheta Schreiber – Sybil
- E. F. Schumacher – Small Is Beautiful
- Binod Bihari Verma – Maithili Karna Kayasthak Panjik Sarvekshan (in Maithili)
- February 21 – Jacob M. Appel, short story writer
- June 2 – David Bezmozgis, Latvian-Canadian writer
- August 18 – Victoria Coren, writer and presenter, daughter of Alan Coren
- January 15 – Neil M. Gunn, novelist, dramatist and critic, 81
- February 22 – Elizabeth Bowen, Irish novelist and short story writer, 73
- March 6 – Pearl S. Buck, American novelist, 80
- March 18 – Roland Dorgelès, French novelist and memoirist, 87
- March 26 – Sir Noël Coward, dramatist and humorist, 73
- April 9 – Warren Lewis, author, Inkling, and brother of C. S. Lewis, 77
- April 28 – Jacques Maritain, French philosopher, 90
- May 21 – Carlo Emilio Gadda, Italian poet and linguist, 79
- June 4 – Arna Bontemps, American poet
- June 9 – John Creasey, crime writer, 64
- June 30 – Nancy Mitford, English novelist and biographer, 68
- July 29 – Henri Charrière, Papillon author, 66
- September 2 – J. R. R. Tolkien, fantasy writer and critic, 81
- September 23 – Pablo Neruda, poet, 69
- September 29 – W. H. Auden, poet, 66
- October 6 – Margaret Wilson, novelist, 91
- October 28 – Sergio Tofano, dramatist, 90
- December 7 – Benn Levy, English playwright and politician, 73
- December 9 – Anthony Gilbert, crime writer, 74
- See 1973 Governor General's Awards for a complete list of winners and finalists for those awards.
- Prix Goncourt: Jacques Chessex, L'Ogre
- Prix Médicis French: Tony Duvert, Paysage de fantaisie
- Prix Médicis International: Milan Kundera, Life Is Elsewhere
- Booker Prize: J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Penelope Lively, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
- Cholmondeley Award: Patric Dickinson, Philip Larkin
- Eric Gregory Award: John Beynon, Ian Caws, James Fenton, Keith Harris, David Howarth, Philip Pacey
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Robin Lane Fox, Alexander the Great
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: John Heath-Stubbs
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Poetry, John Crowe Ransom
- Hugo Award: Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves
- Nebula Award: Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Jason Miller, That Championship Season
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: Eudora Welty, The Optimist's Daughter
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Maxine Kumin, Up Country
- Premio Nadal: José García Blázquez, El rito
- Viareggio Prize: Achille Campanile, Manuale di conversazione