1981 in literature

1981 in literature

The year 1981 in literature involved some significant events and new books.


*PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction given for the first time
*John Gardner successfully revives the James Bond novel series originated by Ian Fleming with "Licence Renewed" (not counting a faux biography of Bond and a pair of film novelizations, the first original Bond novel since 1968's "Colonel Sun"). The revived Bond book series would run uninterrupted until 2002.

New books

*Kingsley Amis - "The Golden Age of Science Fiction"
*Martin Amis - "Other People: A Mystery Story"
*Louis Auchincloss - "The Cat and the King"
*René Barjavel - "Une rose au paradis"
*Samuel Beckett - "Ill Seen Ill Said"
*Pierre Berton - "Flames Across the Border"
*William Boyd - "A Good Man in Africa"
*Peter Carey - "Bliss"
*Raymond Carver - "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"
*David Case - "The Third Grave"
*James Clavell - "Noble House"
*L. Sprague de Camp - "The Hand of Zei"
*L. Sprague de Camp & Catherine Crook de Camp - "Footprints on Sand"
*Bernard Cornwell
**"Sharpe's Eagle"
**"Sharpe's Gold"
*Samuel R. Delany - "Distant Star"
*Régine Deforges - "La Bicyclette Bleue" ("The Blue Bicycle")
*Cynthia Freeman - "No Time for Tears"
*John Gardner - "Licence Renewed"
*Charles L. Grant - "Tales from the Nightside"
*Alasdair Gray - "Lanark"
*Jan Guillou - "Ondskan"
*Thomas Harris - "Red Dragon"
*Frank Herbert - "God Emperor of Dune"
*Douglas Hill - "Planet of the Warlord"
*Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp - "The Flame Knife"
*John Irving - "Hotel New Hampshire"
*Alan Judd - "A Breed of Heroes"
*Ismail Kadare - "The File on H" ("Dosja J")
*Stephen King - "Cujo"
*Colleen McCullough - "An Indecent Obsession"
*Elliot S! Maggin - "Miracle Monday"
*Naguib Mahfouz - "Arabian Nights and Days"
*Toni Morrison - "Tar Baby"
*Robert B. Parker
**"A Savage Place"
**"Early Autumn"
*Terry Pratchett - "Strata"
*Alain Robbe-Grillet - "Djinn"
*Harold Robbins - "Goodbye, Janette"
*Lawrence Sanders - "The Third Deadly Sin"
*Martin Cruz Smith - "Gorky Park"
*Muriel Spark - "Loitering with Intent"
*Jack Vance - "The Book of Dreams"
*Gore Vidal - "Creation"
*Joseph Wambaugh - "The Glitter Dome"
*Kit Williams - "Masquerade"
*Gene Wolfe
**"The Claw of the Conciliator"
**"The Sword of the Lictor"
*Roger Zelazny
**"The Changing Land"

New drama

*John Krizanc - "Tamara"
*Larry Shue - "The Nerd"


*L. Sprague de Camp - "Heroes and Hobgoblins"
*Norman Nicholson - "Sea to the West"
*Richard L. Tierney - "Collected Poems"


*Maya Angelou - "The Heart of a Woman"
*Hugo Brandt Corstius - "Opperlandse taal- & letterkunde"
*Timothy Findley - "Famous Last Words (book)"
*Stephen Jay Gould - "The Mismeasure of Man"
*Ian Smith - "The Great Betrayal"
*Viktor Suvorov - "The Liberators"




* January 9 - A. J. Cronin, novelist
*March 7 - Bosley Crowther, film critic
*March 20 - Pedro García Cabrera, poet
* April 26 - Robert Garioch, poet (b. 1909)
*May 9 - Nelson Algren, novelist
*May 18 - William Saroyan, novelist and dramatist
*June 15 - Philip Toynbee, novelist and journalist
*September 3 - Alec Waugh, novelist
*September 12 - Eugenio Montale, poet


* Nobel Prize for Literature: Elias Canetti
* Hugo Award for Best Novel: "The Snow Queen" by Joan D. Vinge


* The Australian/Vogel Literary Award: Chris Matthews (writer), "Al Jazzar"; Tim Winton, "An Open Swimmer"
* Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry: Alan Gould, "Astral Sea"


* See 1981 Governor General's Awards for a complete list of winners and finalists for those awards.


* Prix Goncourt: Lucien Bodard, "Anne Marie"
* Prix Médicis French: François-Olivier Rousseau, "L'Enfant d'Édouard"
* Prix Médicis International: David Shahar, "Le Jour de la comtesse"

United Kingdom

* Booker Prize: Salman Rushdie, "Midnight's Children"
* Cholmondeley Award: Roy Fisher, Robert Garioch, Charles Boyle
* Eric Gregory Award: Alan Jenkins, Simon Rae, Marion Lomax, Philip Gross, Kathleen Jamie, Mark Abley, Roger Crowley, Ian Gregson
* James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Salman Rushdie, "Midnight's Children", and Paul Theroux, "The Mosquito Coast"
* James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Victoria Glendinning, "Edith Sitwell: Unicorn Among Lions "
* Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: D. J. Enright
* Whitbread Best Book Award: William Boyd, "A Good Man in Africa"

United States

* Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize: Kathy Calloway, "Heart of the Garfish"
* American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Belles Lettres: Malcolm Cowley
* Dos Passos Prize: Gilbert Sorrentino
* Nebula Award: Gene Wolfe, "The Claw of the Conciliator"
* Newbery Medal for children's literature: Katherine Paterson, "Jacob Have I Loved"
* Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Beth Henley, "Crimes of the Heart"
* Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: John Kennedy Toole - "A Confederacy of Dunces"
* Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: James Schuyler: "The Morning of the Poem"


*Premio Nadal: Carmen Gómez Ojea, "Cantiga de aguero"

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