1942 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1942.
- January 1 – Book Production War Economy Agreement comes into force in the United Kingdom.
- February 20 – Jean Bruller's novella Le Silence de la mer (The Silence of the Sea), concerning resistance to the Nazi occupation of France, is issued clandestinely as the first publication of Les Éditions de Minuit in Paris under the pseudonym "Vercors". A hundred copies are distributed from late summer; the remainder are destroyed by the occupying authorities.
- February 22 – The Austrian-born novelist Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte are found dead of a barbiturate overdose in their home in Petrópolis, Brazil, leaving notes indicating despair at the future of European civilization. The manuscript of Zweig's autobiography The World of Yesterday, posted to his publisher a day earlier, is first published in Stockholm later in the year as Die Welt von Gestern.
- March – Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are introduced in his short story "Runaround" published in Astounding Science-Fiction.
- March 1 – Robertson Davies begins a 13-year spell as editor of the Peterborough Examiner in Ontario.
- March 28 – The Spanish poet Miguel Hernández dies of tuberculosis as a political prisoner in a prison hospital having scrawled his last verse on the wall.
- April 9 – The New York Times launches the national version of its influential New York Times Best Seller list.
- April 29 – The newspaper Asia Raja is first published in the Dutch East Indies under Japanese occupation; it will publish a number of literary works.
- May – The German novelist Thomas Mann moves to California.
- May 4 – The French novelist André Gide moves to Tunis.
- May 8 – The English novelist David Garnett marries, as his second wife, the painter and writer Angelica Bell, the daughter of Garnett's lover Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell.
- June 4 – Release of the film Mrs. Miniver, for which novelist James Hilton will share an Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (4 March 1943)
- June 12 – Anne Frank, on her 13th birthday, makes the first entry in her new diary in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.
- August – The French Resistance unit to which expatriate Irish writer Samuel Beckett belongs is betrayed and he is obliged to flee from occupied Paris on foot to Roussillon, Vaucluse in south-eastern France where he continues to work on his novel Watt.
- Autumn – Vasily Grossman is present at the Battle of Stalingrad as a reporter for the Soviet Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda. He later uses the experience in his novel Life and Fate (Жизнь и судьба, completed 1959).
- October – English poet Keith Douglas takes part in the Second Battle of El Alamein (against orders).
- November 19 – The Polish Jewish writer and artist Bruno Schulz is shot dead while walking through the "Aryan quarter" of his home town, Drohobych, by a Gestapo officer.
- Samuel Hopkins Adams – The Harvey Girls
- Nelson Algren – Never Come Morning
- Henry Bellamann – Floods of Spring
- Earle Birney – David
- Taylor Caldwell – The Strong City
- Albert Camus – The Stranger (L'Étranger)
- John Dickson Carr
- Joyce Cary – To Be a Pilgrim
- Camilo José Cela – The Family of Pascual Duarte (La Familia de Pascual Duarte)
- Raymond Chandler – The High Window
- Agatha Christie
- James Gould Cozzens - The Just and the Unjust
- Lloyd C. Douglas – The Robe
- Daphne du Maurier – Frenchman's Creek
- Rachel Field – And Now Tomorrow
- Robert A. Heinlein – Beyond This Horizon
- Kalki Krishnamurthy
- Parthiban Kanavu (பார்த்திபன் கனவு, Parthiban's Dream)
- Maura Laverty – Never No More
- C. S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters (Christian apologetics)
- Mary McCarthy – The Company She Keeps
- Sándor Márai – Embers (A gyertyák csonkig égnek, The Candles Burn Right Down)
- Beryl Markham – West with the Night
- Ellery Queen – Calamity Town
- Raymond Queneau – Pierrot mon ami
- Clayton Rawson – No Coffin for the Corpse
- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – Cross Creek
- Anna Seghers – The Seventh Cross (Das siebte Kreuz)
- Nevil Shute – Pied Piper
- Curt Siodmak – Donovan's Brain
- Clark Ashton Smith – Out of Space and Time
- Eleanor Smith
- John Steinbeck – The Moon is Down
- Rex Stout – Black Orchids
- Antal Szerb (as A. H. Redcliff) – Oliver VII (VII. Olivér)
- Phoebe Atwood Taylor
- The Six Iron Spiders
- Three Plots for Asey Mayo
- Tomita Tsuneo (富田常雄) – Sanshiro Sugata (姿三四郎)
- Vercors – Le Silence de la mer
- Hugh Walpole (died 1941) – The Killer and The Slain
- Evelyn Waugh – Put Out More Flags
- Franz Werfel – The Song of Bernadette
- Cornell Woolrich – Black Alibi
- S. Fowler Wright
- Second Bout with the Mildew Gang
- The Siege of Malta
- Wu Cheng'en (吳承恩), translated by Arthur Waley – Monkey (15th century)
- Xiao Hong (蕭紅) – Hulanhe zhuan (呼兰河传, Tales of the Hulan River)
Children and young people
- BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford) – The Little Grey Men
- Enid Blyton
- Five on a Treasure Island
- Mary Mouse and the Doll's House
- Eleanor Estes – The Middle Moffat
- Janette Sebring Lowrey – The Poky Little Puppy
- Diana Ross – The Little Red Engine Gets a Name (first in Little Red Engine series of nine books)
- David Severn – Rick Afire
- Hildegarde Swift – The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge
- Elizabeth Gray Vining (as Elizabeth Janet Gray) – Adam of the Road
- Ursula Moray Williams – Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat
- Jean Anouilh – Antigone
- Jacinto Benavente – La honradez de la cerradura
- Paul Vincent Carroll – The Strings Are False
- Maurice Druon – Mégarée
- Arthur Miller – Thunder from the Hills (radio play)
- Kaj Munk – Niels Ebbesen
- Eugene O'Neill – A Touch of the Poet (written)
- Terence Rattigan – Flare Path
- Elizabeth Bowen – Bowen's Court
- Albert Camus – The Myth of Sisyphus (Le Mythe de Sisyphe)
- Salvador Dalí – The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí
- Edith Hamilton – Mythology
- Richard Hillary – The Last Enemy
- Aldous Huxley – The Art of Seeing
- C. S. Lewis – A Preface to Paradise Lost
- Elliot Paul – The Last Time I Saw Paris
- Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. – Picketing Hell
- Radu D. Rosetti – Odinioară
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Flight to Arras
- Rebecca West – Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
- January 31 – Derek Jarman, English film director, writer and diarist (died 1994)
- February 1 – Terry Jones, Welsh comedian and writer
- February – David Williamson, Australian playwright
- March 2 – John Irving, American novelist and screenwriter
- March 28 – Daniel Dennett, American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist
- April 1 – Samuel R. Delany, American novelist, essayist and critic
- April 4 – Kitty Kelley, American biographer and journalist
- April 20 – Arto Paasilinna, Finnish novelist and journalist
- May 6 – Ariel Dorfman, Argentine/Chilean novelist, playwright and essayist
- May 11 – Rachel Billington, English author
- June 25 – Michel Tremblay, Canadian novelist and playwright writing in French
- August 2 – Isabel Allende, Chilean novelist
- August 7 – Garrison Keillor, American humorous writer and broadcaster
- September 1 – António Lobo Antunes, Portuguese novelist and physician
- October 20 – Bob Graham, Australian children's writer and illustrator
- October 23
- October 24 – Frank Delaney, Irish-born novelist, journalist and broadcaster (died 2017)
- November 8 – Fernando Sorrentino, Argentine writer
- November 19 – Sharon Olds, American poet
- November 24 – Craig Thomas, Welsh novelist (died 2011)
- December 6 – Peter Handke, Austrian novelist and playwright
- Unknown date
- February 2 – Daniil Kharms, Russian poet, writer and dramatist (died in prison, born 1905)
- February 18 – Henri Stahl, Romanian historian, short story writer, memoirist and stenographer (born 1877)
- March 26 – Carolyn Wells, American novelist and poet (born 1862)
- March 28 – Miguel Hernández, Spanish poet (died in prison, born 1910)
- April 24 – Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian novelist and children's writer (born 1874)
- May 11 – Sakutarō Hagiwara (萩原 朔太郎), Japanese poet (born 1886)
- May 20 – Nini Roll Anker, Norwegian novelist and playwright (born 1873)
- May 26 – Libero Bovio, Neapolitan dialect poet (born 1883)
- May 29 – Akiko Yosano (与謝野 晶子, Yosano Shiyo), Japanese poet and feminist (born 1878)
- May – Jakob van Hoddis (Hans Davidsohn) German poet (died in extermination camp, born 1887)
- June 30 – Léon Daudet, French writer and journalist (born 1867)
- July 1 – Peadar Toner Mac Fhionnlaoich, Irish writer in Irish (born 1857)
- August 17 – Irène Némirovsky, Russian-born French novelist (died in concentration camp, born 1903)
- August 27 – Lev Nussimbaum, Russian and Azerbaijani novelist (gangrene, born 1905)
- September 26 – Oskar Kraus, Czech philosopher (born 1872)
- October 14 – Cosmo Hamilton, English dramatist and novelist (born 1870)
- October 20 – Friedrich Münzer, German classicist (born 1868)
- October 29 – Màrius Torres, Catalan Spanish poet (born 1910)
- November 4
- December 23 – Konstantin Balmont, Russian Symbolist poet and translator (born 1867)
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Denys Watkins-Pitchford, The Little Grey Men
- Frost Medal: Edgar Lee Masters
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Arthur Waley, Translation of Monkey by Wu Cheng'en
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, Henry Ponsonby: Queen Victoria's Private Secretary
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Walter D. Edmonds, The Matchlock Gun
- Nobel Prize for literature: not awarded
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: not awarded
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: William Rose Benet, The Dust Which Is God
- Pulitzer Prize for the Novel: Ellen Glasgow, In This Our Life
- Laurent Binet's novel HHhH (2010) is based around the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich on 4 June 1942.
- Graham Greene's novel The Heart of the Matter (1948) is set during this year, with a background of the author's experiences as a wartime intelligence officer in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
- "Typography versus Hitler — The Book Production War Economy Agreement". Chris Forster. 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
- Bruller, Jean (1967). La Bataille du silence.
- Davis, Darién J.; Marshall, Oliver, eds. (2010). Stefan and Lotte Zweig's South American Letters: New York, Argentina and Brazil, 1940-42. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 41. Laurent Seksik's 2010 novel Les Derniers Jours de Stefan Zweig is set in this period.