1983 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1983.


  • April – The Russian samizdat poet Irina Ratushinskaya is sentenced to imprisonment in a labor camp for dissident activity. While there she continues to write poetry clandestinely.
  • June 2 – The Francophone Senegalese poet and politician Léopold Sédar Senghor becomes the first black African writer elected as a member of the Académie française.
  • July – Barbara Cartland, who reaches the age of 82, writes 23 romantic novels this year.
  • November – Bruce Bethke's short story Cyberpunk, written in 1980, is published in Amazing Stories magazine in the United States and as a novel online, giving a name to the entire science fiction subgenre of cyberpunk.

    Uncertain date
  • Salvage for the Saint by Peter Bloxsom and John Kruse is published, as the final book in a series of novels, novellas and short stories featuring the Leslie Charteris creation "The Saint", which started in 1928. (An attempt to revive the series in 1997 is unsuccessful.)

    New books


  • Nelson Algren (posthumous) – The Devil's Stocking
  • Isaac AsimovThe Robots of Dawn
  • Greg BearThe Wind from a Burning Woman
  • Samuel BeckettWorstward Ho
  • Thomas BergerThe Feud
  • Thomas BernhardThe Loser (Der Untergeher)
  • Jorge Luis BorgesShakespeare's Memory (La memoria de Shakespeare, short stories)
  • Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Mists of Avalon
  • Morley CallaghanA Time for Judas
  • Raymond CarverCathedral
  • Sandra CisnerosThe House on Mango Street
  • Hugo ClausThe Sorrow of Belgium (Het verdriet van België)
  • J. M. CoetzeeLife and Times of Michael K
  • Jackie CollinsHollywood Wives
  • Basil CopperThe House of the Wolf
  • Bernard Cornwell
  • Sharpe's Sword
  • Sharpe's Enemy
  • Bernard and Judy Cornwell (as Susannah Kells) – A Crowning Glory
  • György Dalos1985
  • L. Sprague de Camp
  • The Reluctant King
  • The Unbeheaded King
  • Jim DodgeFup
  • Stephen R. DonaldsonWhite Gold Wielder: Book Three of The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
  • Nora EphronHeartburn
  • Ken FollettOn Wings of Eagles
  • Ernest J. GainesA Gathering of Old Men
  • John GardnerIcebreaker
  • Haidar HaidarWalimah li A'ashab al-Bahr (وليمة لأعشاب البحر, A Feast for the Seaweeds)
  • Maarten 't HartDe kroongetuige
  • Mark HelprinWinter's Tale
  • Amado V. HernandezLuha ng Buwaya (Crocodile's Tear)
  • Susan HillThe Woman in Black
  • Elfriede JelinekThe Piano Teacher (Die Klavierspielerin)
  • Elizabeth JolleyWoman in a Lamp Shade
  • Jo Jung-raeThe Tae Baek Mountains (태백산맥, publication begins)
  • Ernst JüngerAladdin's Problem
  • William KennedyIronweed
  • Stephen KingChristine
  • Danilo KišThe Encyclopedia of the Dead (Enciklopedija mrtvih)
  • Dean R. KoontzPhantoms
  • Louis L'AmourThe Lonesome Gods
  • Derek LambertThe Judas Code
  • John le CarréThe Little Drummer Girl
  • Mary MackeyThe Last Warrior Queen
  • Norman MailerAncient Evenings
  • James A. MichenerPoland
  • R. K. NarayanA Tiger for Malgudi
  • Robert B. ParkerThe Widening Gyre
  • Ellis Peters
  • The Sanctuary Sparrow
  • The Devil's Novice
  • Tim PowersThe Anubis Gates
  • Terry PratchettThe Colour of Magic
  • Satyajit RayShonku Ekai Aksho (Shonku, All in All, collected Professor Shonku stories)
  • Salman RushdieShame
  • Joanna RussThe Zanzibar Cat
  • Danielle SteelChanges
  • Walter TevisThe Queen's Gambit
  • Gore VidalDuluth
  • Evangeline WaltonThe Sword is Forged
  • Fay WeldonThe Life and Loves of a She-Devil
  • A. N. WilsonScandal
  • Robert Anton WilsonPrometheus Rising
  • Christa WolfCassandra (Kassandra)
  • Roger ZelaznyUnicorn Variations (stories and essays)

    Children and young people

  • Chris Van AllsburgThe Wreck of the Zephyr
  • Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (with Willi Glasauer) – Beauty and the Beast
  • Roald DahlThe Witches
  • Mem FoxPossum Magic
  • Rumer Godden
  • Four Dolls
  • The Valiant Chatti-Maker
  • Dick King-SmithThe Sheep-Pig (also as Babe, the Gallant Pig)
  • Harold Lamb (with George Barr and Alicia Austin) - The Sea of the Ravens
  • Astrid LindgrenThe Runaway Sleigh Ride! (Titta Madicken, det snöar!)
  • Bill PeetNo Such Things
  • Jean Giono (with Willi Glasauer) – The Man Who Planted Trees


  • Samuel BeckettNacht und Träume (television play, first broadcast)
  • Ray CooneyRun for Your Wife
  • David MametGlengarry Glen Ross
  • Tom MurphyThe Gigli Concert
  • Christina ReidTea in a China Cup
  • Larry ShueThe Foreigner
  • Neil SimonBrighton Beach Memoirs
  • Botho StraußThe Park (Der Park)


  • Paul DurcanJumping the Train Tracks with Angela
  • Grace NicholsI is a long-memoried woman


  • Benedict AndersonImagined Communities
  • Pascal BrucknerThe Tears of the White Man
  • L. Sprague de CampThe Fringe of the Unknown
  • L. Sprague de Camp, Catherine Crook de Camp and Jane Whittington GriffinDark Valley Destiny
  • Tom DardisHarold Lloyd: The Man on the Clock
  • Terry EagletonLiterary Theory: An Introduction
  • Anthony GreyThe Prime Minister Was a Spy
  • Shantabai KambleMajya Jalmachi Chittarkatha (The Kaleidoscopic Story of My Life)
  • Susan OliverOdyssey: A Daring Transatlantic Journey
  • Renée RichardsSecond Serve: The Renée Richards Story
  • Anna RosmusWiderstand und Verfolgung am Beispiel Passau 1933–1945 (Resistance and Persecution – The Case of Passau 1933–1945)
  • Nawal El SaadawiMudhakkirâtî fî sijn an-nisâʾ (Memoirs from the Women's Prison)
  • Ram SwarupUnderstanding Islam through Hadis
  • Colin ThubronAmong the Russians
  • Julia UrquidiLo que Varguitas no dijo (What Little Vargas Did not Say)
  • A. N. WilsonThe Life of John Milton: A Biography


  • July 2Tao Lin (林韬), Chinese novelist and poet
  • November 17Christopher Paolini, American fantasy novelist

    Uncertain date
  • Sarah Howe, Hong Kong-born poet writing in English


  • January 5Chapman Grant, American historian and publisher (born 1887)
  • February 14Brita von Horn, Swedish theater director, dramatist and novelist (born 1886)
  • February 25Tennessee Williams (Thomas Lanier Williams III), American playwright (born 1911)
  • March 3Hergé (Georges Prosper Remi), Belgian comics creator (born 1907)
  • April 12Desmond Bagley, English novelist (complications from stroke, born 1923))
  • May 4Shūji Terayama (寺山 修司), Japanese poet, dramatist, and film director (cirrhosis, born 1935)
  • May 21Amal Abul-Qassem Donqol, Egyptian poet (born 1940)
  • June 19Vilmundur Gylfason, Icelandic historian, poet and politician (suicide, born 1948)
  • June 27Alden Nowlan, Canadian poet, novelist and playwright (born 1933)
  • August 12Mikey Smith, Jamaican dub poet (stoned to death; born 1954)
  • September 16Roy Andries De Groot, English-born American food writer (born 1910)
  • December 5John Robinson, English religious writer and bishop (born 1919)


  • Nobel Prize for Literature: William Golding


  • The Australian/Vogel Literary Award: Jenny Summerville, Shields Of Trell
  • Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry: Vivian Smith, Tide Country
  • Miles Franklin Award: No award presented


  • See 1983 Governor General's Awards for a complete list of winners and finalists for those awards.


  • Prix Goncourt: Frédérick Tristan, Les Égarés
  • Prix Médicis French: Jean Echenoz, Cherokee
  • Prix Médicis International: Kenneth White, La Route bleue


  • Miguel de Cervantes Prize: Rafael Alberti

    United Kingdom

  • Booker Prize: J. M. Coetzee -Life and Times of Michael K
  • Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Jan Mark, Handles
  • Cholmondeley Award: John Fuller, Craig Raine, Anthony Thwaite
  • Eric Gregory Award: Martin Stokes, Hilary Davies, Michael O'Neill, Lisa St Aubin De Teran, Deidre Shanahan
  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Jonathan Keates, Allegro Postillions
  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Alan Walker, Franz Liszt: The Virtuoso Years
  • Newdigate prize: Peter McDonald
  • Whitbread Best Book Award: John Fuller, Flying to Nowhere

    United States

  • Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize: Kate Daniels, The White Wave
  • Nebula Award: David Brin, Startide Rising
  • Newbery Medal for children's literature: Cynthia Voigt, Dicey's Song
  • Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Marsha Norman, 'Night, Mother
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: Alice WalkerThe Color Purple
  • Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Galway KinnellSelected Poems
  • Pulitzer Prize for History: The Transformation of Virginia, 1740–1790 by Rhys L. Isaac
  • Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction: Is There No Place on Earth for Me? by Susan Sheehan


  • Hugo Award for Best Novel: Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov
  • Premio Nadal: Salvador García Aguilar, Regocijo en el hombre