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1963 in Literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1963.
- January 2 - The Traverse Theatre opens in Edinburgh.
- February 11 - The American-born poet Sylvia Plath (age 30) commits suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in her London flat about a month after her only novel, the semi-autobiographical The Bell Jar, appears and six days after writing her last poem, "Edge".
- March - The Publications and Entertainments Act in South Africa enables the government to impose strict censorship. Des Troye's novel An Act of Immorality (an attack on miscegenation provisions in the country's Immorality Act) is among the first to be prohibited.
- March/April - The Bologna Children's Book Fair is inaugurated.
- March 19 - Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop premières the ensemble musical Oh, What a Lovely War! at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, London.
- May 17 - The first Galician Literature Day is held.
- July 16 - A day after admission to the Acland Hospital in Oxford, C. S. Lewis suffers a heart attack. Though later discharged, he dies at home four months later.
- August 20 - The Royal Shakespeare Company introduces its performance cycle of Shakespeare's history plays under the title The War of the Roses, adapted and directed by John Barton and Peter Hall, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.
- October 21 - The first film from Merchant Ivory Productions is released: The Householder with a screenplay adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from her own novel.
- October 22 - The Royal National Theatre Company is newly formed in the U.K. under Artistic Director Laurence Olivier. Its first performance is with Peter O'Toole as Hamlet, in London.
- November - Tom Wolfe's essay "There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored (Thphhhhhh!) Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (Rahghhh!) Around the Bend (Brummmmmmmmmmmmmmm)..." is published in Esquire magazine in the United States.
- November 17 - Fictional hero 8 Man, created by science fiction writer Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata, appears in print for the first time.
- Novy Mir publishes three more stories by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn critical of the Soviet regime, including "Matryona's Home". They will be the last of his works to be published in the Soviet Union until 1990.
- Russian poet Anna Akhmatova's Requiem, an elegy on Soviet sufferings in the Great Purge, composed 1935-1961, is first published complete in book form, without her knowledge, in Munich.
- The first modern publication by mainstream publishers in the U.K. and the United States of John Cleland's novel Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, 1748-9) causes it to be banned for obscenity in Massachusetts, triggering a court case by its publisher, and prosecution of a London retailer.
- Leslie Charteris publishes his last collection of stories with Simon Templar: The Saint in the Sun. All subsequent Saint books will be ghost-written by others.
- Grace Ogot's short story "A Year of Sacrifice" (later retitled "The Rains Came") is published in Black Orpheus.
Children and young people
- January 3 - Alex Wheatle, black British young adult fiction writer
- January 11 - Jan Arnald (Arne Dahl), Swedish novelist and critic
- January 18 - Peter Stamm, Swiss writer, dramatist and journalist
- January 30 - Thomas Brezina, Austrian author
- March 26 - Natsuhiko Kyogoku ( ), Japanese mystery writer
- April 27 - Russell T. Davies, Welsh television writer
- May 5 - Scott Westerfeld, American young-adult novelist
- May 8 - Robin Jarvis, English novelist
- May 19 - Michael Symmons Roberts, English poet
- May 24 - Michael Chabon, American author
- May 26 - Simon Armitage, English poet laureate
- June 25 - Yann Martel, Canadian author
- August 15 - Jan Sonnergaard, Danish short-story writer (died 2016)
- September 2 - Thor Kunkel, German novelist
- September 4 - Louise Doughty, English novelist and radio dramatist
- September 6 - Alice Sebold, American novelist
- October 8 - Nick Earls, Australian novelist and children's writer
- October 25 - Dominic Dromgoole, English theatre director and writer
- December 23 - Donna Tartt, American novelist
- Unknown dates
- January 8 - Kay Sage, American poet (suicide, born 1898)
- January 14 - Gustav Regler, German Socialist novelist (born 1898)
- January 29 - Robert Frost, American poet (born 1874)
- February 4 - Brinsley MacNamara (John Weldon), Irish novelist and playwright (born 1890)
- February 11 - Sylvia Plath, American-born poet and novelist (suicide, born 1932)
- February 24 - Herbert Asbury, American journalist and writer (born 1889)
- March 4 - William Carlos Williams, American writer (born 1883)
- March 11
- March 29 - Pola Gojawiczy?ska, Polish writer (born 1896)
- May 12 - A. W. Tozer, American religious writer and pastor (born 1897)
- May 28 - Ion Agârbiceanu, Romanian writer and pastor (born 1882)
- June 3 - Nâz?m Hikmet Ran, Turkish poet, playwright and novelist (heart attack, born 1892)
- June 17 - John Cowper Powys, English novelist (born 1872)
- August 1 - Theodore Roethke, American poet (heart attack, born 1908)
- August 18 - Clifford Odets, American dramatist (cancer, born 1906)
- August 27 - W. E. B. Du Bois, American writer, scholar and activist (born 1868)
- September 3 - Louis MacNeice, Irish poet (pneumonia, born 1907)
- September 9 - Ernst Kantorowicz, German historian (born 1895)
- October 11 - Jean Cocteau, French poet, novelist and short story writer (born 1889)
- October - Jolán Földes, Hungarian novelist and playwright (born 1902)
- November 13 - Margaret Murray, Indian-born English archeologist and historian (born 1863)
- November 22
- December 25 - Tristan Tzara (Samuel Rosenstock), Romanian-born French poet and essayist (born 1896)
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Poetry: William Carlos Williams
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Hester Burton, Time of Trial
- Eric Gregory Award: Ian Hamilton, Stewart Conn, Peter Griffith, David Wevill
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Gerda Charles, A Slanting Light
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Georgina Battiscombe, John Keble: A Study in Limitations
- Miles Franklin Award: Sumner Locke Elliott, Careful, He Might Hear You
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
- Nobel Prize for literature - Giorgos Seferis
- Premio Nadal: Manuel Mejía Vallejo, El día señalado
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: William Faulkner - The Reivers
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: William Carlos Williams: Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: William Plomer
- The following novels are set wholly or partly in this year: