1954 in literature
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In poetry: 1951 1952 1953 -1954- 1955 1956 1957
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The year 1954 in literature involved some significant events and new books.
- January 25 – First broadcast of Dylan Thomas's radio play Under Milk Wood, two months after its author's death, with Richard Burton as 'First Voice', on the BBC Third Programme in the United Kingdom.
- February – The title The London Magazine is revived under the editorship of John Lehmann as a literary magazine.
- May 29 – The newly rediscovered and restored early 17th century Corral de comedias de Almagro in Spain is reinaugurated with the performance of a play by Calderon de la Barca.
- June 16 – The first public celebration of "Bloomsday" takes place in Dublin: writers Flann O'Brien, Patrick Kavanagh and Anthony Cronin travel in a horse-drawn coach stopping at numerous bars to retrace the steps of the characters from James Joyce's novel Ulysses.
- June 22 – Parker–Hulme murder case: 15-year-old Julia Hulme, the future writer of English historical detective fiction Anne Perry, participates in the murder of her best friend's mother in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- July – Publication of the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's epic high fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, by George Allen & Unwin in London. The Two Towers follows on November 11 and publication is completed in 1955. By 2007, 150 million copies will have been sold worldwide.
- September 1 – Lawrence Quincy Mumford takes up the post of Librarian of Congress in the United States.
- September 22 – Terence Rattigan's two linked one-act plays Separate Tables have their première at St James's Theatre, London.
- November 19 – Brendan Behan's first play, The Quare Fellow, premières at the Pike Theatre, Dublin.
- Jack Kerouac reads Dwight Goddard's A Buddhist Bible (1932, found in San Jose library) which will influence him greatly.
- John Updike graduates from Harvard with a thesis on George Herbert. This summer he travels on a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship to spend a year at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in the University of Oxford (England). His first short story for The New Yorker, "Friends from Philadelphia", is published on October 30.
- Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim
- Poul Anderson – The Broken Sword
- Isaac Asimov – The Caves of Steel
- James Baldwin – Go Tell It on the Mountain
- Hamilton Basso – The View from Pompey's Head
- Simone de Beauvoir – The Mandarins
- Pierre Boulle – The Bridge on the River Kwai (Le pont de la rivière Kwai)
- Taylor Caldwell – Never Victorious, Never Defeated
- John Dickson Carr
- Agatha Christie – Destination Unknown
- Robertson Davies – Leaven of Malice
- Daphne du Maurier – Mary Anne
- Ian Fleming – Live and Let Die
- Max Frisch – I'm Not Stiller
- William Golding – Lord of the Flies
- Hergé – Explorers on the Moon (On a marché sur la Lune)
- Mac Hyman – No Time for Sergeants
- Randall Jarrell – Pictures from an Institution: a comedy
- Yasunari Kawabata – The Sound of the Mountain (Yama no Oto)
- Frances Parkinson Keyes – The Royal Box
- Manuel Mujica Láinez - La casa ("The house")
- Ira Levin - A Kiss Before Dying
- C. S. Lewis – The Horse and His Boy
- Astrid Lindgren – Mio, My Son
- Kamala Markandaya – Nectar in a Sieve
- John Masters – Bhowani Junction
- Richard Matheson – I Am Legend
- John Metcalfe – The Feasting Dead
- James A. Michener – Sayonara
- Alberto Moravia – Il disprezzo (A Ghost at Noon)
- Iris Murdoch – Under the Net
- J. B. Priestley – The Magicians
- Marcel Proust – Jean Sauteuil (posthumously published)
- Ellery Queen – The Glass Village
- Pauline Réage – Histoire d'O (Story of O)
- Mordecai Richler – The Acrobats
- Lillian Roth – I'll Cry Tomorrow
- Ahmed Sefrioui – La Boîte à merveilles
- Anya Seton – Katherine
- Dr. Seuss – Horton Hears a Who!
- John Steinbeck – Sweet Thursday
- Irving Stone – Love Is Eternal
- Rex Stout
- Edward Streeter – Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
- Rosemary Sutcliff – The Eagle of the Ninth
- Morton Thompson – Not as a Stranger
- J. R. R. Tolkien
- Amos Tutuola – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
- Gore Vidal – Messiah
- Douglass Wallop – The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant
- Frank Yerby – Benton's Row
- Brendan Behan – The Quare Fellow
- Saunders Lewis – Siwan
- Terence Rattigan – Separate Tables
- Dylan Thomas – Under Milk Wood
- Thornton Wilder – The Matchmaker
- Dharamvir Bharati – Andha Yug (The Blind Age)
- L. Sprague de Camp – Lost Continents
- Albert Einstein – Ideas and Opinions
- Aldous Huxley – The Doors of Perception
- Arthur Koestler – The Invisible Writing: The Second Volume Of An Autobiography, 1932–40
- Mervyn Peake – Figures of Speech
- Alice B. Toklas – The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook
- William Kurtz Wimsatt, Jr. Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry (collected essays including the influential critical essays “The Intentional Fallacy” and “The Affective Fallacy” cowritten with Monroe Beardsley).
- January 15 – Jose Dalisay, Jr., Filipino writer
- January 29 – Oprah Winfrey, American actress, talk show host, producer and publisher
- March 4 – Irina Ratushinskaya, Russian writer
- March 16 – S. A. Griffin, American actor and poet
- March 20 – Louis Sachar, American author
- April 14 – Bruce Sterling, American science-fiction writer
- May 23 – Anja Snellman, Finnish writer
- June 28 – A. A. Gill, British journalist and critic
- July 17 – J. Michael Straczynski, American author
- August 1 – James Gleick, an American non-fiction author
- August 17 – Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Russian-Irish writer
- November 12 – Christopher Pike (Kevin Christopher McFadden), American children's author
- November 8 – Kazuo Ishiguro, Japanese-born British novelist
- December 3 – Grace Andreacchi, American author
- December 7 – Mark Hofmann, American rare book dealer, forger and murderer
- December 20 – Sandra Cisneros, American writer
- January 1 – Duff Cooper (1st Viscount Norwich), poet, biographer and politician (born 1890)
- January 25 – M. N. Roy, philosopher and politician (born 1887)
- February 2 – Hella Wuolijoki, Estonian-born Finnish writer (born 1886)
- March 28 – Francis Brett Young, novelist and poet (born 1884)
- April 8
- April 19 – Russell Davenport, journalist and publisher (born 1899)
- May 3 – Earnest Hooton, popular writer on anthropology (born 1887)
- July 13 – Grantland Rice, American sportswriter (born 1880)
- July 14 – Jacinto Benavente, Spanish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1866)
- August 3 – Colette, French novelist (born 1873)
- September 19 – Miles Franklin, novelist (born 1879)
- September 29 – W. J. Gruffydd, editor of Welsh-language journal Y Llenor (Literature) (born 1881)
- December 6 – Lucien Tesnière, grammarian (born 1893)
- December 20 – James Hilton, English novelist (born 1900)
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Ronald Welch, Knight Crusader
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: C. P. Snow, The New Men and The Masters
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Keith Feiling, Warren Hastings
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Joseph Krumgold, ...And Now Miguel
- Nobel Prize for Literature: Ernest Miller Hemingway
- Premio Nadal: Francisco Alcántara, La muerte sienta bien a Villalobos
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: John Patrick, The Teahouse of the August Moon
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Theodore Roethke: TheWaking
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: Ralph Hodgson
- Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia, CXCVIII (iii), Madrid, 2001, pp. 352–546 OCLC 1460620 (Spanish).
- Wagner, Vit (2007-04-16). "Tolkien proves he's still the king". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- Leitch, Vincent B.; Cain, William E.; Finke, Laurie A.; Johnson, Barbara E.; McGowan, John; Williams, Jeffrey J. (2001). "William K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley". In Leitch, Vincent B. (ed). The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. pp. 1371–1374.