This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1973.
- March 6 – The Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, founded as the Montenegrin Society for Science and Arts (Crnogorsko društvo za nauku i umjetnost) in Podgorica, elects its first members.
- May 14 – New orthography for the Greenlandic language is introduced.
- June 21
- July 26 – Peter Shaffer's drama Equus is premièred in London by the National Theatre company at The Old Vic.
- September 16 – Chilean poet and playwright Víctor Jara, 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.
- December 3 – French police of the Direction de la surveillance du territoire, disguised as plumbers, are caught trying to install a spy microphone in the directors' office of the Paris satirical paper Le Canard enchaîné.
- 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.
- Book burnings in Chile occur.
- André Brink's novel Kennis van die aand ("Looking on Darkness") becomes the first Afrikaans book banned by the government of South Africa.
- Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita (Ма́стер и Маргари́та) is first published complete in Moscow (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 Boston-based Spenser book series with his debut crime novel The Godwulf Manuscript.
Children and young peopleEdit
- January 8 – Madhulika Liddle, Indian writer
- January 13 – Lois Pryce, Scottish-born travel writer and journalist
- February 21 – Jacob M. Appel, American short story writer and bioethicist
- May 10 – Tana French, American-born mystery novelist and actress
- June 2 – David Bezmozgis, Latvian-Canadian writer
- August 13 – Kamila Shamsie, Pakistan-born novelist
- August 18 – Victoria Coren Mitchell, English writer, presenter and poker player, daughter of Alan Coren
- December 24 – Stephenie Meyer, American young-adult vampire romance writer and film producer
- Unknown dates
- January 15 – Neil M. Gunn, Scottish novelist, dramatist and critic (born 1891)
- February 22 – Elizabeth Bowen, Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer (born 1899)
- March 6 – Pearl S. Buck, American novelist (born 1892)
- March 18 – Roland Dorgelès, French novelist and memoirist (born 1885)
- March 26 – Sir Noël Coward, English dramatist and humorist (born 1899)
- April 9 – Warren Lewis, Irish author (born 1895)
- April 20 – Elisabeth Hauptmann, German writer (born 1897)
- April 28 – Jacques Maritain, French philosopher (born 1882)
- April 30 – Jirō Osaragi (大佛 次郎, Haruhiku Nojiri), Japanese novelist (born 1897)
- May 21 – Carlo Emilio Gadda, Italian poet and linguist (born 1893)
- June 4 – Arna Bontemps, American poet (born 1902)
- June 9 – John Creasey, English crime writer (born 1908)
- June 30 – Nancy Mitford, English novelist and biographer (born 1904)
- July 11 – Nobuko Yoshiya (吉屋 信子, Yoshiya Nobuko), Japanese romantic novelist (born 1896)
- July 29 – Henri Charrière, French writer and criminal (born 1906)
- August 1 – Ann Quin, English novelist (born 1936)
- September 2 – J. R. R. Tolkien, English fantasy writer and scholar (born 1892)
- September 23 – Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet (born 1904)
- September 29 – W. H. Auden, English poet (born 1907)
- October 6 – Margaret Wilson, American novelist (born 1882)
- October 28 – Sergio Tofano, Italian dramatist (born 1886)
- November 13 – B. S. Johnson, English novelist (born 1933)
- December 7 – Benn Levy, English playwright and politician (born 1900)
- December 9 – Anthony Gilbert, English crime writer (born 1899)
- December 11 – May Wedderburn Cannan, English poet (born 1893)
- December 14 – Josef Magnus Wehner, German poet and playwright (born 1891)
- Unknown date – Kathleen Lindsay, English-born South African romance novelist (born 1903)
- 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