Modern Literature Time Chart

A chart showing the publication dates of works of literature in the context of important historical, social, and cultural events

1914-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949  1950-1959  1960-1969  1970-1979  1980-1989  1990-1999  2000-2003

1980 - 1989


A selection of publications

Howard Brenton: The Romans in Britain
Anthony Burgess: Earthly Powers
J M Coetzee: Waiting for the Barbarians
Rita Dove: The Yellow House on the Corner
Penelope Fitzgerald: Human Voices
William Golding: Rites of Passage
Graham Greene: Dr Fischer of Geneva.
David Lodge: How Far Can You Go?
Salman Rushdie: Midnight's Children
Carol Shields: Happenstance
Miriam Tlali: Amandla

Historic and political events

UK: Storming of Iranian embassy.
USA: Ronald Reagan becomes president.
Africa: Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe with Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister.
Iraq: Iran-Iraq war begins.
India: Sanjay Gandhi killed in plane crash.

Social history

UK: Unemployment over 2 million. Recession. Riots in Bristol. USA: John Lennon shot. Technology: Introduction of the 'walkman'. Cinema: John Hurt in The Elephant Man.


Martin Amis: Other People: A Mystery Story
Samuel Beckett: Nohow On
Peter Carey: Bliss
Raymond Carver: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
William Golding: Rights of Passage
Nadine Gordimer: July's People
John Irving: Hotel New Hampshire
Ian McEwan: The Comfort of Strangers
Toni Morrison: Tar Baby
Brian Patten: Love Poems
Sipho Sepamla: A Ride on the Whirlwind
Mongane Serote: To Every Birth Its Blood
Paul Theroux: The Mosquito Coast
D M Thomas: The White Hotel
Gore Vidal: Creation

USA: Ronald Reagan, Republican, becomes President. Assassination attempt on Reagan.
Ireland: Riots after death of hunger-striker Bobby Sands.

UK: Thatcher Government privatising nationalised industries. Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer. Toxteth and Brixton race riots. Social Democrat party formed. Start of Channel 4. Technology: Personal Computer introduced by IBM. Cinema: Harold Pinter's adaptation of The French Lieutenant's Woman. Roman Polanski, Tess.


Andre Brink: A Dry White Season
Charles Bukowski: Ham on Rye
Graham Greene: Monsignor Quixote
Kazuo Ishiguro: A Pale View of Hills
Thomas Keneally: Schindler's Ark
R K Narayan: Malgudi Days
Tom Stoppard: The Real Thing
Alice Walker: The Color Purple
Tennessee Williams: The Bag People

UK: Falklands War.
Poland: 'Solidarity' outlawed.

UK: Unemployment at three million. IRA bomb in Hyde Park. Start of Greenham common anti-missile protests. Technology: First CD players. Popular music: Michael Jackson, Thriller


Maya Angelou: Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?
J M Coetzee: Life and Times of Michael K
Ted Hughes: River
Norman Mailer: Ancient Evenings
Ian McEwan: The Ploughman's Lunch
Njabulo Ndebele: Fools and Other Stories
Salman Rushdie: Shame
Sam Shepard: Fool for Love
Graham Swift: Waterland

USA: President Reagan proposes 'Star Wars' defence system.

UK: Neil Kinnock becomes Labour leader. IRA car bomb outside Harrods. Technology: IBM and Apple producing personal computers.


Martin Amis: Money
Margaret Atwood: Interlunar
Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory
Julian Barnes: Flaubert's Parrot
Samuel Beckett: Catastrophe
Saul Bellow: Him with His Foot in His Mouth and Other Short Stories
Angela Carter: Nights at the Circus
Don DeLillo: White Noise
Timothy Findley: Not Wanted on the Voyage
Seamus Heaney: Station Island
V S Naipaul: Finding the Centre
Harold Pinter: One for the Road
Craig Raine: Rich
Sipho Sepamla: Selected Poems
Tom Stoppard: Squaring the Circle
John Updike: The Witches of Eastwick
Gore Vidal: Lincoln: A Novel

UK: Policewoman shot outside Libyan embassy. IRA bomb Conservative party conference. Agreement to return Hong Kong to China.
USA: Bombing of embassy in Beirut.
Lebanon: Peace keepers quit civil war.
India: Further Hindu-Moslem riots. Troops storm Golden Temple at Amritsar. Assassination of Indira Gandhi. Riots between Hindus and Sikhs. Gas leak at Bhopal.

UK: Miners' strike. Term 'Yuppie' introduced. USA: Gunman kills 20 at a McDonald's in California. Science: Discovery of AIDS virus. Reports of danger to environment from acid rain and greenhouse effect. Technology: 'DNA fingerprinting' developed. Popular music: Boy George. Bob Geldof etc, Band Aid single. Cinema: Tarkovsky, Nostalgia. Wim Wenders, Paris Texas


Peter Ackroyd: Hawksmoor
Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale
Howard Brenton and David Hare: Pravda
Rita Dove: Fifth Sunday
John Irving: The Cider House Rules
Lorrie Moore: Self-Help
Carol Shields: Various Miracles
Stephen Spender: Collected Poems
Anne Tyler: The Accidental Tourist
Jeanette Winterson: Oranges are not the Only Fruit

UK: Race riots in London after death of black woman, PC Keith Blakelock killed.
Ireland: Anglo-Irish Agreement, Ulster Unionist MPs resign from House of Commons.
USSR: Gorbachev becomes leader of Soviet Union

UK: The Westland Affair. Buses privatised. Art: Christo, wrapping public buildings. Popular music: Live Aid rock concert in USA and UK for Ethiopian famine. Madonna, Like a Virgin.


Kingsley Amis: The Old Devils
J M Coetzee: Foe
Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World
Garrison Keillor: Lake Wobegon Days
Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness of the West
Iris Murdoch: Acastos: Two Platonic Dialogues
Anthony Powell: The Fisher King
Richard Rive: Buckingham Palace, District Six
Derek Walcott: Collected Poems

USA: Bombing of GI disco in Berlin, air strike against Libya. 'Irangate' begins.
USSR: Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
South Africa: White extremists break up Pik Botha meeting. State of emergency on 10th anniversary of Soweto. Repeal of the Urban Areas Act.

UK: British Gas privatised. Clashes between police and pickets at Wapping print workers’ strike. Nissan opens car factory. USA: Explosion of Challenger space shuttle. Technology: Laptop computers introduced.


Maya Angelou: Now Sheba Sings the Song
David Edgar: That Summer
Garrison Keillor: Leaving Home
Ian McEwan: The Child in Time
Toni Morrison: Beloved
Vladimir Nabokov: The Enchanter
Michael Ondaatje: In the Skin of a Lion
Salman Rushdie: The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey
Carol Shields: Swann: A Mystery
Jeanette Winterson: The Passion
Tom Wolfe: Bonfire of the Vanities

UK: Conservatives under Thatcher win election for third time.
Ireland: Enniskillen Remembrance Day bomb.
USSR: Gorbachev extending policy of 'perestroika' and 'glasnost' (openness).

UK: Terry Waite kidnapped in Beirut. Gunman kills 14 in Hungerford. Black Monday stock market crash. Destructive storms. King's Cross tube fire. Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster. Cinema: Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire. Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor.


Kingsley Amis: Difficulties With Girls
Margaret Atwood: Cat’s Eye
Joseph Brodsky: To Urania
Charles Bukowski: The Roominghouse Madrigals
Peter Carey: Oscar and Lucinda
Raymond Carver: Elephant
Penelope Fitzgerald: The Beginning of Spring
Graham Greene: The Captain and the Enemy
Philip Larkin: Collected Poems
R K Narayan: My Dateless Diary: An American Journey
Harold Pinter: Mountain Language
Alan Sillitoe: Three Poems
Tom Stoppard: Hapgood

UK: Formation of Liberal Democrat party. IRA members shot by SAS in Gibraltar.
USA: George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican, becomes President. American missile shoots down Iranian airliner in Gulf.
USSR: Estonia moves towards self-determination. Troops begin withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Kosovo: Serbs and Albanians fight.

UK: Piper Alpha disaster in North Sea. Clapham train crash. Lockerbie disaster. Start of Comic Relief. Technology: Serious attacks by computer viruses. Popular music: Michael Jackson on UK tour. Cinema: Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ. Pedro Almodovar, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.


Martin Amis: London Fields
Beryl Bainbridge: An Awfully Big Adventure
Rita Dove: Grace Notes
Buchi Emecheta: Gwendolen
Frederick Forsyth: The Negotiator
Janet Frame: The Carpathians
John Irving: A Prayer For Owen Meany
Kazu Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
Richard Rive: Emergency Continued
Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses
Alice Walker: The Temple of My Familiar
Jeanette Winterson: Sexing the Cherry

UK: IRA bomb at Deal barracks. Resignation of Nigel Lawson.
USA: Earthquake in San Francisco.
Europe: Berlin Wall dismantled, end of Cold War. Revolutions in Eastern Europe.
Iran: Fatwa declared against Salman Rushdie.
China: Tiananmen Square protest

UK: Start of Sky satellite TV. Hillsborough football stadium disaster. Plane crashes on M1. USA: First woman bishop consecrated. Popular music: Kylie Minogue. Jason Donovan. Acid House Rave parties. Classical music: Michael Tippett, New Year.

1914-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949  1950-1959  1960-1969  1970-1979  1980-1989  1990-1999  2000-2003

© Copyright Ian Mackean. All rights reserved. | Privacy policy