1949 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1949.
- January 11 – Bertolt Brecht's play Mother Courage and Her Children (Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder, 1939) is first performed in Germany, at the Deutsches Theater in East Berlin with his wife Helene Weigel in the title role and staged with his Verfremdungseffekt ("distancing effect"). This is the origin of the Berliner Ensemble.
- January 31 – The radio series Book at Bedtime debuts on the BBC Light Programme in the United Kingdom with the start of a reading of John Buchan's novel The Three Hostages.
- February 10 – Arthur Miller's tragedy Death of a Salesman opens at the Morosco Theatre on Broadway in New York City with Lee J. Cobb in the title rôle of Willy Loman and runs for 742 performances.
- March – Poet Pablo Neruda flees Chile over the Lilpela Pass through the Andes to Argentina on horseback carrying a manuscript of his Canto General.
- April 14
- May – Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin settle at the Boat House, Laugharne in South Wales.
- June 8 – George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is published in London by Secker & Warburg.
- June – Oxford University Dramatic Society production of Shakespeare's The Tempest beside Worcester College lake, directed by Nevill Coghill.
- October 5 – American writer Helene Hanff writes her first letter from New York City to the London antiquarian bookdealers Marks & Co in a correspondence which will eventually be collected as 84, Charing Cross Road.
- October 13 – George Orwell marries Sonia Brownell while confined in University College Hospital, London, where he will die 3 months later.
- Arthur C. Clarke becomes Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts.
- Radclyffe Hall's lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, convicted of obscenity in the United Kingdom on first publication in 1928, is republished posthumously in the U.K. by Falcon Press with no legal challenge.
- Jean-Paul Sartre completes his Les Chemins de la Liberté ("The Roads to Freedom") trilogy.
- The Théâtre du Rideau Vert is founded in Montreal by Yvette Brind'Amour and Mercedes Palomino as the first professional French-language theatre in Canada.
- A statue of folk poet Larin Paraske is erected in Helsinki.
- Enid Blyton's children's books Little Noddy Goes to Toyland, the first to introduce the title character; and The Secret Seven, first in the eponymous series, are published in England.
- Nelson Algren – The Man with the Golden Arm
- Miguel Ángel Asturias – Men of Maize (Hombres de maíz)
- Antoine Blondin – L'Europe buissonnière
- Jorge Luis Borges – The Aleph (El Aleph; short stories)
- Paul Bowles – The Sheltering Sky
- Fredric Brown – The Screaming Mimi
- Pearl S. Buck – The Angry Wife
- Dorothy Bussy – Olivia (published anonymously)
- Taylor Caldwell – Let Love Come Last
- Italo Calvino – The Crow Comes Last (Ultimo viene il corvo; short stories)
- Alejo Carpentier – The Kingdom of this World (El reino de este mundo)
- John Dickson Carr
- Below Suspicion
- A Graveyard To Let (as by Carter Dickson)
- Agatha Christie – Crooked House
- H. F. Ellis – The Papers of A. J. Wentworth B.A.
- Foster Fitzsimmons – Bright Leaf
- Graham Greene – The Third Man
- A. B. Guthrie, Jr. – The Way West
- Knut Hamsun – On Overgrown Paths (Paa gjengrodde Stier)
- John Hawkes – Cannibal
- Alfred Hayes – The Girl on the Via Flaminia
- Marguerite Henry – King of the Wind
- Georgette Heyer – Arabella
- Shirley Jackson – The Lottery and Other Stories
- Alaric Jacob – Scenes from a Bourgeois Life
- Dagmar Lange – Mördaren ljuger inte ensam (The Murderer is Not the Only Liar)
- Marghanita Laski – Little Boy Lost
- H. P. Lovecraft – Something About Cats and Other Pieces
- Robert Merle – Week-end at Zuydcoote (Week-end à Zuydcoote)
- Nancy Mitford – Love in a Cold Climate
- C. L. Moore – Beyond Earth's Gates
- Stratis Myrivilis – Η Παναγιά η Γοργόνα (E Panayia e Yoryona, The Mermaid Madonna)
- Máirtín Ó Cadhain – Cré na Cille ("Graveyard Clay")
- John O'Hara – A Rage to Live
- George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Karel Poláček – There Were Five of Us (Czech: Bylo nás pět)
- Samuel Putnam (translator) – Don Quixote
- Ellery Queen – Cat of Many Tails
- Harold Robbins – The Dream Merchants
- Jack Schaefer – Shane
- Anna Seghers – The Dead Stay Young (Die Toten Bleiben Jung)
- Nevil Shute – A Town Like Alice
- Emma Smith – The Far Cry
- Rex Stout
- Edward Streeter – Father of the Bride
- Gwyn Thomas – All Things Betray Thee
- Arved Viirlaid – Tormiaasta ("The Year of Storms")
- Mika Waltari – The Wanderer (Mikael Hakim)
- S. Fowler Wright – The Throne of Saturn (short stories)
- Frank Yerby – Pride's Castle
Children and young adults
- Enid Blyton
- Ruby Ferguson – Jill's Gymkhana (first in the Jill series of nine books)
- Tove Jansson – Finn Family Moomintroll
- Astrid Lindgren – Most Beloved Sister
- Clare Mallory – Juliet Overseas
- Ruth Park – Poor Man's Orange
- Willard Price – Amazon Adventure (first in the The Adventure Series)
- H. E. Todd – Bobby Brewster and the Winkers' Club (first in the Bobby Brewster series of 24 books)
- Geoffrey Trease – No Boats on Bannermere
- Meriol Trevor – The Forest and the Kingdom (first of the World Dionysius trilogy)
- T. S. Eliot – The Cocktail Party
- Christopher Fry – The Lady's Not for Burning
- Jean Genet – Deathwatch (Haute Surveillance)
- Sidney Kingsley – Detective Story
- Arthur Miller – Death of a Salesman
- Lynn Riggs – Out of Dust
- Nelson Rodrigues – Dorotéia
- Carlos de Oliveira – Descida aos Infernos
- Robert Frost – Complete Poems of Robert Frost (Holt)
- Máirtín Ó Direáin – Rogha Dánta
- Octavio Paz – Libertad bajo palabra
- Fernand Braudel – La Méditerranée et le monde Méditerranéen à l'époque de Philippe II (The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II)
- Herbert Butterfield
- Origins of Modern Science
- Christianity and History
- Joseph Campbell – The Hero with a Thousand Faces
- John Dickson Carr – The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Thomas B. Costain – The Conquering Family, also known as The Conquerors (First book in Plantagenet Series, also known as The Pageant of England)
- Simone de Beauvoir – The Second Sex (Le Deuxième Sexe)
- Dion Fortune – The Cosmic Doctrine (posthumous)
- John Gunther – Death Be Not Proud
- Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue – The Royal Road To Card Magic
- John Maynard Keynes (posthumous) – Two Memoirs
- Osbert Lancaster – Drayneflete Revealed (architectural satire)
- Aldo Leopold – A Sand County Almanac
- Margaret Mead – Male and Female
- Audie Murphy – To Hell and Back
- P. D. Ouspensky – In Search of the Miraculous
- Finn Ronne – Antarctic Conquest
- Gilbert Ryle – The Concept of Mind
- January 1 – Radu Țuculescu, Romanian novelist, dramatist and theater director
- January 12 – Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹), Japanese novelist
- January 16 – John Guy, Australian-born British historian and biographer
- January 26 – Jonathan Carroll, American author of fantasy fiction
- January 27 – Ethan Mordden, American author
- February 4 – Mark D. Devlin, American memoirist (died 2005)
- February 23 – César Aira, Argentinian writer
- March 26 – Patrick Süskind, German novelist
- April 11 – Dorothy Allison, American novelist and campaigner
- April 25 – James Fenton, English journalist, poet, critic and academic
- June 5 – Ken Follett, English novelist
- June 21 – John Agard, Guyanese poet
- July 15 – Richard Russo, American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist
- August 3 – Peter Gutmann, American journalist
- August 25 – Martin Amis, English novelist and critic
- September – Jimmy McGovern, English screenwriter
- September 26 – Jane Smiley, American novelist
- October 5 – Peter Ackroyd, English biographer, novelist and critic
- November 2 – Lois McMaster Bujold, American author of science fiction and fantasy
- November 24 – Erwin Neutzsky-Wulff, Danish philosopher
- December 22 – David Gilmour, Canadian novelist
- December 24 – Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Mexican-born architectural historian
- Unknown date– John Harris, American political writer
- January 21 – William Price Drury, English novelist, playwright and Royal Marines officer (born 1861)
- February 11 – Axel Munthe, Swedish autobiographer and psychiatrist (born 1857)
- May 6 – Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian poet, playwright and Nobel Laureate (born 1862)
- June 10 – Sigrid Undset, Norwegian author and Nobel Laureate (born 1882)
- June 11 – Oton Župančič, Slovene poet, translator and dramatist (born 1878)
- June 14 – Russell Doubleday, American author and publisher (born 1872)
- July 2 – Elsa Bernstein (Ernst Rosmer), German dramatist (born 1866)
- August 2 – Hermann Grab, Bohemian German-language novelist (born 1903)
- August 8 – E. H. Young, English novelist (born 1880)
- August 16 – Margaret Mitchell, American novelist (road accident, born 1900))
- September 4 – Herbert Eulenberg, German poet and dramatist (born 1876)
- September 6 – Lucien Descaves, French novelist (born 1861)
- September 19
- September 21 – Jorge Cáceres, Chilean poet and artist (born 1923)
- October 20 – Jacques Copeau, French actor and dramatist (born 1879)
- October 24 – Thomas Rowland Hughes, Welsh-language novelist, dramatist and poet, 46 (multiple sclerosis, born 1903))
- December 7 – Rex Beach, American author (born 1877)
- December 28 – Hervey Allen, American novelist (heart attack, born 1889)
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Agnes Allen, The Story of Your Home
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Emma Smith, The Far Cry
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: John Connell, W. E. Henley
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Marguerite Henry, King of the Wind
- Nobel Prize for literature: William Faulkner
- Order of Merit: Bertrand Russell
- Premio Nadal: Jose Suárez Carreño, Las últimas horas
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: James Gould Cozzens, Guard of Honor
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Peter Viereck, Terror and Decorum
- V. M. Straka's fictional novel Ship of Theseus is published (as reproduced in Doug Dorst's novel S. (2013))
- December – The action of J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951) takes place
- Sutherland, John; Fender, Stephen (2010). "14 April". Love, Sex, Death & Words: surprising tales from a year in literature (2011 ed.). London: Icon Books. ISBN 978-184831-247-0.
- Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). The Encyclopædia of Oxford. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-39917-X.
- "Cheltenham Literature Festival". Cheltenham4u. Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
- Baker, Michael (1985). Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall. London: GMP Publishers. p. 353. ISBN 0-85449-042-6.