1950 in literature
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The year 1950 in literature involved some significant literary events and new books.
- January 19 - Isaac Asimov's first full-length novel, Pebble in the Sky, is published by Doubleday in the United States.
- January 26 - Film noir Gun Crazy released in the United States. Co-writer Dalton Trumbo is billed under Millard Kaufman's name because of the former's appearance on the Hollywood blacklist. This year Trumbo serves 11 months in prison for Contempt of Congress, in the federal penitentiary in Ashland, Kentucky.
- February - Jack Kerouac has his first novel, The Town and the City, published in the United States.
- April 8 - J. D. Salinger's wartime short story "For Esmé—with Love and Squalor" is published in The New Yorker.
- May 11 - Eugène Ionesco's first play, The Bald Soprano, receives its stage première in Paris.
- September 10 - George Bernard Shaw is admitted to hospital, having fractured a hip falling out of a tree he was pruning. He returns home a few weeks later following a successful operation but subsequently suffers renal failure and dies at his home, Shaw's Corner (Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England), aged 94.
- October 16 - C. S. Lewis's novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, first of The Chronicles of Narnia series, is published in England.
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is sent to a "special camp" for political prisoners in Kazakhstan.
- The 13th/14th century epic poem The Tale of the Heike is retold in modern Japanese prose by historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa as Shin Heike monogatari ("New Tale of the Heike"), published in Asahi Weekly.
- Blackwell's open the first specialist children's bookshop, in Broad Street, Oxford (England).
- Adrian Bell begins writing his Countryman’s Notebook column in the Eastern Daily Press.
- Marguerite de Angeli - The Door in the Wall
- Isaac Asimov
- Georges Bataille - L'Abbé C
- Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles
- Gwen Bristow - Jubilee Trail
- Pearl S. Buck - The Child Who Never Grew
- John Dickson Carr
- Agatha Christie
- Catherine Cookson - Kate Hannigan
- William Cooper - Scenes from Provincial Life
- A. J. Cronin - The Spanish Gardener
- L. Sprague de Camp and P. Schuyler Miller - Genus Homo
- L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt - The Castle of Iron
- Daphne du Maurier - The Parasites
- Marguerite Duras - Un barrage contre le Pacifique (translated as The Sea Wall)
- Friedrich Dürrenmatt - The Judge and His Hangman (Der Richter und sein Henker)
- Hans Fallada - The Drinker (Der Trinker; written 1944 and published posthumously)
- Ford Madox Ford - Parade's End (tetralogy first published together under this title posthumously)
- C. S. Forester - Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
- Hugh Garner - Cabbagetown
- Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey - Belles on Their Toes
- Vasily Grossman - Stalingrad
- Giovanni Guareschi - The Little World of Don Camillo
- Frank Hardy - Power Without Glory
- Ernest Hemingway - Across the River and Into the Trees
- John Hersey - The Wall
- Patricia Highsmith - Strangers on a Train
- Elizabeth Jane Howard - The Beautiful Visit
- Robert E. Howard - Conan the Conqueror
- MacKinlay Kantor - Lee and Grant at Appomattox
- Jack Kerouac - The Town and the City
- Frances Parkinson Keyes - Joy Street
- Manuel Mujica Láinez - Misteriosa Buenos Aires (short stories)
- Doris Lessing - The Grass Is Singing
- C. S. Lewis - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Rose Macaulay - The World My Wilderness
- Roger Nimier - The Blue Hussar
- Juan Carlos Onetti - La vida breve ("A Brief Life")
- Cesare Pavese - La Luna e i Falò
- Mervyn Peake - Gormenghast
- Pramoedya Ananta Toer - Perburuan ("The Fugitive")
- Barbara Pym - Some Tame Gazelle
- Ellery Queen - Double, Double
- Conrad Richter - The Town
- Henry Morton Robinson - The Cardinal
- Cezaro Rossetti - Kredu min, sinjorino!
- Budd Schulberg - The Disenchanted
- Nevil Shute - A Town Like Alice
- John Steinbeck - Burning Bright
- Rex Stout
- Edith Templeton - Summer In The Country
- James Thurber - The 13 Clocks
- Boris Vian - L'Herbe rouge
- Gore Vidal - Dark Green, Bright Red
- A. E. van Vogt - The Voyage of the Space Beagle
- Mika Waltari - The Adventurer
- Evelyn Waugh - Helena
- Kathleen Winsor - Star Money
- Yasushi Inoue
- 黯い潮 (Kuroi ushio)
- その人の名は云えない (Sono hito no na ha ienai)
- Frank Yerby - Floodtide
- Bertolt Brecht - The Tutor
- Friedrich Dürrenmatt - Romulus the Great
- Christopher Fry - Venus Observed
- Kermit Hunter - Unto These Hills
- William Inge - Come Back, Little Sheba
- Eugène Ionesco - The Bald Soprano
- John Steinbeck - Burning Bright
- Leah Bodine Drake - A Hornbook for Witches
- Pablo Neruda - Canto General
- Stevie Smith - Not Waving But Drowning
- Roland Bainton - Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
- Elizabeth David - Mediterranean Cooking
- Ernst Gombrich - The Story of Art
- Thor Heyerdahl - Kon-Tiki
- Octavio Paz - The Labyrinth of Solitude
- Lionel Trilling - The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society
- Raymond Williams - Reading and Criticism
- Cecil Woodham-Smith - Florence Nightingale
- January 17 – Luis López Nieves, Puerto Rican writer
- January 20 – Edward Hirsch, American poet
- January 25 – Gloria Naylor, African-American author
- February 6 – Jane Gordon-Cumming, American-born English writer
- February 11 – Mauri Kunnas, Finnish children’s author
- March 23 – Ahdaf Soueif, Egyptian novelist
- April 20 – Steve Erickson, American novelist
- June 25 – Barbara Gowdy, Canadian novelist
- July – Zhang Kangkang, Chinese writer
- July 22 – Susan Eloise Hinton, American novelist
- August 9 – Nicole Tourneur, French novelist (d. 2011)
- August 26 – Carl Deuker, American author
- September 7 – Peggy Noonan, American columnist, political writer
- September 16 – Henry Louis Gates, American literary critic
- September 20 – James Blaylock, American fantasy author
- October 10 – Nora Roberts, American novelist
- October 12 – Edward Bloor, American novelist
- October 17 – David Adams Richards, Canadian author
- October 18 – Wendy Wasserstein, American playwright (d. 2006)
- October 27 – Fran Lebowitz, American writer
- November 3 – Massimo Mongai, Italian author
- November 4 – Charles Frazier, American novelist
- December 18 – Leonard Maltin, American film critic and historian
- December 20 – Sheenagh Pugh, English-born poet and novelist
- January 5 - Basil Williams, English historian, 82
- January 21 - George Orwell, English novelist, 46 (tuberculosis)
- February 7 - D. K. Broster, English historical novelist (b. 1877)
- February 13 - Rafael Sabatini, Italian-born English-language novelist, 74
- February 24 – Irving Bacheller, American journalist and writer, 90
- March 5 – Edgar Lee Masters, American poet, 81
- March 11 – Heinrich Mann, German novelist, 78
- March 19 – Edgar Rice Burroughs, American Tarzan author, 74
- April 1 – F. O. Matthiessen, American historian and literary critic, 48
- April 8 – Albert Ehrenstein, Austrian Expressionist poet, 63
- April 27 – H. Bonciu, Romanian novelist, poet and translator, 56 (cancer)
- May 6 – Agnes Smedley, American journalist and writer, 58 (following surgery for an ulcer)
- May 11 – Alfred O. Andersson, English-born American newspaper publisher, 75
- May 13 – F. E. Compton, American publisher of reference books, 75
- June 4 – George Cecil Ives, German/English poet, writer and reformer (b. 1867)
- August 27 – Cesare Pavese, Italian poet and novelist, 41
- September 6 – Olaf Stapledon, English philosopher and science-fiction author, 64 (heart attack)
- September 18 – Henrik Rytter, Norwegian dramatist, lyricist and translator, 73
- October 9 – Nicolai Hartmann, German-Latvian philosopher, 68
- October 19 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet, 58 (heart attack)
- October 31 – Herbert Kelly, religious writer and cleric, 90
- November 2 – George Bernard Shaw, Irish-born dramatist and critic, 90
- November 25 – Johannes V. Jensen, Danish author
- December 28 – Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Soviet short-story writer, 77
- December 31 – Xavier Villaurrutia, Mexican poet and dramatist, 47
- Unknown dates
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Elfrida Vipont, The Lark on the Wing
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Robert Henriques, Through the Valley
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Cecil Woodham-Smith, Florence Nightingale
- Mystery Writer Of Japan - Kazuo Shimada - Shakai-bu Kisha (City Reporter)
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Marguerite de Angeli, The Door in the Wall
- Newdigate prize: John Bayley
- Nobel Prize for Literature: Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell
- Premio Nadal: Elena Quiroga, Viento del norte
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Joshua Logan, South Pacific
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: A. B. Guthrie, Jr., The Way West
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Gwendolyn Brooks, Annie Allen
- "George Bernard Shaw treated in Luton after tree fall". Dunstable Today. 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- "Lucy Barfield: The Real Lucy of Narnia". Into the Wardrobe. 27 May 2006. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
- Graham, Malcolm (2014). On foot from Broad Street. Oxford Preservation Trust. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-9576797-1-9.
- Kynaston, David (2007). Austerity Britain 1945–1951. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-0-7475-7985-4.
- "George Orwell, Author, 46, Dead. British Writer, Acclaimed for His '1984' and 'Animal Farm,' is Victim of Tuberculosis. Two Novels Popular Here Distaste for Imperialism". The New York Times. 22 January 1950.