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This article is a summary of the literary events and publications of 1958.
- January 7 – Tennessee Williams' one-act plays Suddenly, Last Summer and Something Unspoken première off-Broadway.
- January 13 – In One, Inc. v. Olesen, the Supreme Court of the United States affirms that homosexual writing is not per se obscene.
- March 29 – Stage première of Max Frisch's dark comedy Biedermann und die Brandstifter (known in English as The Fire Raisers) at the Schauspielhaus Zürich.
- April 28 – Première of Harold Pinter's play The Birthday Party at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in England.
- May 19 – London début of Harold Pinter's play The Birthday Party at the Lyric Opera House (Hammersmith). It closes after a week but its reputation is saved by a review by Harold Hobson in The Sunday Times on May 25.
- May 27 – 19-year-old Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey is staged by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London. Littlewood has received the script with a covering letter stating "A fortnight ago I didn't know the theatre existed".
- Spring/Summer – London publishers Faber introduce their paper covered editions, including T. S. Eliot's Collected Poems, William Golding's Lord of the Flies, J. W. Dunne's An Experiment with Time and the first of several science fiction anthologies edited by Edmund Crispin, all with covers designed by Berthold Wolpe based on the Albertus typeface.
- August 18 – Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.
- c. September – Herbert Marcuse begins teaching at Brandeis University.
- October 14 – Brendan Behan's play The Hostage is first performed in an English version by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London. Also this year, Behan's autobiographical Borstal Boy is published in London; on November 12 it is banned in Ireland by the Censorship of Publications Board.
- October 23 – Announcement of the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Boris Pasternak leads to denunciation of him in the Soviet Union and threats to expel him.
- October 28 – Samuel Beckett's monologue Krapp's Last Tape is first performed by Patrick Magee at the Royal Court Theatre, London. Also this year, Beckett's novel The Unnamable is first published in English.
- First volume of Shelby Foote's military history The Civil War: A Narrative is published in the United States.
- Rumours of a library ban on Enid Blyton's books in New Zealand.
- Jack Kerouac writes and narrates the "beat" movie, Pull My Daisy (released 1959).
- Ken Kesey is awarded a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship to enrol in the creative writing program at Stanford University.
- Mervyn Peake begins to develop Parkinson's Disease.
Children and young people
- April 6 – Graeme Base, English-born Australian children's author and illustrator
- April 15 – Benjamin Zephaniah, English dub poet
- May 8 – Roddy Doyle, Irish novelist
- May 21 – Taku Ashibe (芦辺 拓), Japanese mystery novelist
- May 22 – Wayne Johnston, Canadian novelist
- June 10 – James F. Conant, American philosopher
- June 16 – Isobelle Carmody, Australian science fiction, fantasy and children's writer
- July 5 – Veronica Guerin, Irish journalist (murdered 1996)
- October 30 – Flora Fraser, English biographer
- November 11 – Kathy Lette, Australian novelist, playwright and activist
- November 24 – Gregory Doran, English theater director
- Unknown dates
- February 4 – Henry Kuttner, American science fiction author (born 1915)
- February 6 – Charles Langbridge Morgan, English novelist and dramatist (born 1894)
- March 15 – Michael Joseph, English publisher (born 1897)
- March 17 – Margiad Evans, Anglo-Welsh writer and poet (born 1909)
- March 21 – Cyril M. Kornbluth, American science fiction writer (born 1923)
- March 24 – Seumas O'Sullivan, Irish poet (born 1879)
- April 7 – Elliot Paul, American writer (born 1892)
- April 8 – Ethel Turner, English-born Australian novelist and children's author (born 1873)
- May 5 – James Branch Cabell, American fantasy author (born 1879)
- June 10 – Angelina Weld Grimké, African-American playwright and poet (born 1880)
- June 28 – Alfred Noyes, English poet (born 1880)
- August 6 – Geoffrey Willans, English novelist and comic writer (born 1911)
- August 29 – Marjorie Flack, American author and illustrator (born 1897)
- September 11 – Robert W. Service, English-born Canadian comic poet (born 1874)
- October 24 – G. E. Moore, English philosopher (born 1873)
- October 30 – Rose Macaulay, English novelist (born 1881)
- December 8 – Peig Sayers (Máiréad Ó Gaoithín), Irish seanchaí (traditional storyteller) (born 1873)
- December 20 – J. C. Squire, English writer and critic (born 1884)
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Philippa Pearce, Tom's Midnight Garden
- Hugo Award for Best Novel: Fritz Leiber, The Big Time
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Angus Wilson, The Middle Age of Mrs. Eliot
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Joyce Hemlow, The History of Fanny Burney
- Miles Franklin Award: Randolph Stow, To the Islands
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Harold Keith, Rifles for Watie
- Newdigate prize: Jon Stallworthy
- Nobel Prize in literature: Boris Pasternak
- Premio Nadal: J. Vidal Cadellans, No era de los nuestros
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Ketti Frings, Look Homeward, Angel
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: James Agee, A Death In The Family
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Robert Penn Warren, Promises: Poems 1954-1956