1964 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1964.
- January 10 – Federico García Lorca's play The House of Bernarda Alba, completed just before his assassination in 1936, receives its first performance in Spain.
- January 12 – Royal Shakespeare Company Experimental Group open a 4-week Theatre of Cruelty season at the LAMDA Theatre Club, London.
- January 23 – Arthur Miller's play After the Fall opens at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre Off-Broadway in New York, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Jason Robards and Kazan's wife Barbara Loden. A semi-autobiographical work, it arouses controversy over Miller's portrayal of late ex-wife Marilyn Monroe.
- February 11 – R. v. Gold (Mayflower Books intervening): A London retailer is found guilty under section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 of stocking a 1963 edition of John Cleland's novel Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, 1748-9).
- April 23 – Shakespeare Birthplace Trust opens the Shakespeare Centre, housing its library and research facilities, in Stratford-upon-Avon (England).
- April 29 – Peter Weiss's play with music Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt durch die Schauspielgruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade ("The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade", known as Marat/Sade) premieres at the Schiller Theater in West Berlin. In August it receives its English-language premiere by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London at the Aldwych Theatre.
- May – Michael Moorcock becomes editor of the science fiction magazine New Worlds.
- May 6 – Joe Orton's black comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane premieres at the New Arts Theatre in London with Dudley Sutton in the title rôle.
- May 29 – Le Théâtre du Soleil is established as a collective avant-garde stage ensemble by Ariane Mnouchkine, Philippe Léotard and fellow students of L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, going on to present its first show, Les Petits Bourgeois (adapted from Maxim Gorky's Мещане), at Théâtre Mouffetard.
- June 22 – Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer is allowed to circulate legally in the United States by the U.S. Supreme Court three decades after its original publication in France, after the U.S. Supreme Court, in Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein, cites Jacobellis v. Ohio (which is decided the same day) and overrules state court findings that the book is obscene.
- August 11 – Ian Fleming walks to the Royal St George's Golf Club in Canterbury, Kent, for lunch and later dines at his hotel with friends, collapsing shortly afterwards with a heart attack. His last recorded words are an apology to the ambulance drivers for having inconvenienced them, saying "I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don't know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days." Fleming dies next day.
- September – Everyman Theatre opens in Liverpool, England.
- September 28 – Brian Friel's play Philadelphia, Here I Come! is premièred at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.
- October 28 – The Wednesday Play debuts on BBC1 television in the United Kingdom, presenting original one-off contemporary social drama, mostly written for television.
- Jean-Paul Sartre becomes head of the Organization to Defend Iranian Political Prisoners (ODIPP).
- W. H. Auden describes his "Vision of Agape" (June 1933) in his preface to the anthology The Protestant Mystics.
- Chinua Achebe – Arrow of God
- José Agustín – La Tumba
- Lloyd Alexander – The Book of Three
- Poul Anderson – Time and Stars
- Louis Auchincloss – The Rector of Justin
- J. G. Ballard – The Terminal Beach
- Simone de Beauvoir – A Very Easy Death (Une Mort très douce)
- Saul Bellow – Herzog
- Thomas Berger – Little Big Man
- Leigh Brackett
- Ray Bradbury – The Machineries of Joy
- John Braine – The Jealous God
- Richard Brautigan – A Confederate General From Big Sur
- John Brunner
- Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan and the Madman
- William S. Burroughs - Nova Express
- J. Ramsey Campbell – The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants
- John Dickson Carr – Most Secret
- Agatha Christie – A Caribbean Mystery
- Louis-Ferdinand Céline – London Bridge: Guignol's Band II
- A. J. Cronin – A Song of Sixpence
- Len Deighton – Funeral in Berlin
- August Derleth (editor) – Over the Edge
- Michel Droit – Le Retour
- Ralph Ellison – Shadow and Act
- Ian Fleming – You Only Live Twice
- Max Frisch – Gantenbein
- William Golding – The Spire
- Bohumil Hrabal – Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age (Taneční hodiny pro starší a pokročilé)
- Carl Jacobi – Portraits in Moonlight
- B. S. Johnson – Albert Angelo
- Ken Kesey – Sometimes a Great Notion
- Richard E. Kim – The Martyred
- Etienne Leroux – Een vir Azazel (One for Azazel, translated as One for the Devil)
- Liang Yusheng (梁羽生) – Datang Youxia Zhuan (大唐游俠傳)
- H. P. Lovecraft – At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels
- John D. MacDonald
- Iris Murdoch – The Italian Girl
- Sterling North – Rascal
- Vladimir Nabokov – The Defense
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (also known as James Ngigi) – Weep Not, Child
- Kenzaburō Ōe (大江 健三郎) – A Personal Matter (個人的な体験; Kojinteki na taiken)
- Anthony Powell – The Valley of Bones
- Mario Puzo – Fortunate Pilgrim
- Ellery Queen – And On the Eighth Day
- Jean Ray – Saint-Judas-de-la-nuit
- Ruth Rendell – From Doon With Death
- Karl Ristikivi – Imede saar
- Hubert Selby Jr. – Last Exit to Brooklyn
- Ryōtarō Shiba (司馬 遼太郎) – Moeyo Ken (燃えよ剣, Burn, O Sword)
- Clark Ashton Smith – Tales of Science and Sorcery
- Wilbur Smith – When the Lion Feeds
- Rex Stout
- Leon Uris – Armageddon
- Jack Vance
- Gore Vidal – Julian
- Irving Wallace – The Man
- Raymond Williams – Second Generation
- Maia Wojciechowska – Shadow of a Bull
Children and young people
- Nina Bawden – On the Run (also Three on the Run)
- Christianna Brand – Nurse Matilda
- Hesba Fay Brismead – Pastures of the Blue Crane
- Jeff Brown – Flat Stanley
- Roald Dahl – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Louise Fitzhugh – Harriet the Spy
- Ian Fleming – Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car
- Rumer Godden – Home is the Sailor
- Irene Hunt – Across Five Aprils
- Ervin Lázár – A kisfiú meg az oroszlánok (The Little Boy and the Lions)
- Rhoda Levine – Harrison Loved His Umbrella
- Ruth Manning-Sanders – A Book of Dwarfs
- J. P. Martin – Uncle (first in a series of six books)
- Jean Merrill – The Pushcart War
- Ruth Park – The Muddle-Headed Wombat on Holiday
- Bill Peet
- Randy's Dandy Lions
- Shel Silverstein – The Giving Tree
- Miriam Young – Miss Suzy
- Ama Ata Aidoo – The Dilemma of a Ghost
- David Campton – Dead and Alive
- Brian Friel – Philadelphia Here I Come!
- Girish Karnad – Tughlaq
- Arthur Miller
- Joe Orton – Entertaining Mr Sloane
- Alexander Vampilov – Farewell in June
- Peter Weiss – Marat/Sade
- Joseph Payne Brennan – Nightmare Need
- Leonard Cohen – Flowers for Hitler
- Mehr Lal Soni Zia Fatehabadi – Husn-e-Ghazal (The beauty of Ghazal)
- Philip Larkin – The Whitsun Weddings
- Oodgeroo Noonuccal – We are Going: Poems
- Ion Vinea – Ora fântânilor (The Hour of Fountains)
- Donald Wandrei – Poems for Midnight
- Up The Line To Death: The War Poets 1914-1918 (anthology)
- Nelson Algren – Conversations with Nelson Algren (interviews by H. E. F. Donohue)
- Eric Berne – Games People Play
- Allan Bloom with Harry V. Jaffa – Shakespeare's Politics
- L. Sprague de Camp
- Hilda Ellis Davidson – Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
- Aileen Fox – South West England (archaeology)
- Dick Gregory – Nigger: An Autobiography
- Ernest Hemingway – A Moveable Feast
- Michael Holroyd – Hugh Kingsmill: A Critical Biography
- John F. Kennedy (posthumous) – A Nation of Immigrants
- Martin Luther King, Jr. – Why We Can't Wait
- Jan Kott – Shakespeare, Our Contemporary
- Violette Leduc – La Bâtarde
- Herbert Marcuse – One-Dimensional Man
- Marshall McLuhan – Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
- V. S. Naipaul - An Area of Darkness
- Sayyid Qutb – Ma'alim fi al-Tariq (معالم في الطريق, Milestones)
- Ayn Rand – The Virtue of Selfishness
- The Warren Commission – The Warren Report
- Evelyn Waugh – A Little Learning
- January 26 – Peter Braunstein, American journalist and playwright
- February 23 – Joseph O'Neill, Irish-born writer.
- March 7 – Bret Easton Ellis, American novelist, screenwriter and short-story writer
- March 21 – Kaori Ekuni (江國 香織), Japanese novelist
- June 5 – Rick Riordan, American young-adult author
- June 7 – Petr Hruška, Czech poet
- June 11 – Dan Chaon, American novelist and short-story writer
- July 3 – Joanne Harris, English novelist
- July 7 – Karina Galvez, Ecuadorian poet
- July 16 – Anne Provoost, Flemish novelist and essayist
- September 9 – Aleksandar Hemon, Bosnian novelist and short-story writer
- September 19 – Patrick Marber, English comedian, playwright, director, puppeteer, actor and screenwriter
- September 25
- December 26 – Elizabeth Kostova, American author
- Unknown dates
- January 17 – T. H. White, English novelist (heart condition, born 1906)
- February 3 – Clarence Irving Lewis, American philosopher (born 1883)
- February 25 – Grace Metalious (Marie Grace DeRepentigny), American novelist (cirrhosis of liver, born 1924)
- March 17 – Păstorel Teodoreanu, Romanian poet and satirist (lung cancer, born 1894)
- March 20 – Brendan Behan, Irish playwright, poet and writer (born 1923)
- April 14 – Rachel Carson, American environmentalist (breast cancer, born 1907)
- April 18 – Ben Hecht, American screenwriter (born 1894)
- April 23 – Karl Polanyi (Károly Polányi), Austro-Hungarian economic historian and social philosopher (born 1886)
- May 13 – Hamilton Basso, American novelist and journalist (born 1904)
- July 6 – Ion Vinea, Romanian poet, novelist, and journalist (cancer, born 1895)
- August 3 – Flannery O'Connor, American essayist and fiction writer (born 1925)
- August 12 – Ian Fleming, English spy thriller writer (heart attack, born 1908)
- August 17 – Mihai Ralea, Romanian critic and sociologist of literature (born 1896)
- September 14 – Vasily Grossman, Soviet novelist (cancer, born 1905)
- September 18 – Seán O'Casey, Irish dramatist and memoirist (born 1880)
- November 21 – Leah Bodine Drake, American poet, editor and critic (cancer, born 1914)
- November 29 – Anne de Vries, Dutch novelist (born 1904)
- December 9 – Dame Edith Sitwell, English poet and critic (born 1887)
- December 21 – Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (born 1880)
- Unknown date – Radu D. Rosetti, Romanian poet and playwright (born 1874)
- See 1964 Governor General's Awards for a complete list of winners and finalists for those awards.
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Sheena Porter, Nordy Bank
- Eric Gregory Award: Robert Nye, Ken Smith, Jean Symons, Ted Walker
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Frank Tuohy, The Ice Saints
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Elizabeth Longford, Victoria R.I.
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: R. S. Thomas
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama: Lillian Hellman
- Hugo Award: Clifford D. Simak, Way Station
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Emily Cheney Neville, It's Like This, Cat
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Louis Simpson: At The End Of The Open Road
- Miles Franklin Award: George Johnston, My Brother Jack
- Premio Nadal: Alfredo Martínez Garrido, El miedo y la esperanza
- Viareggio Prize: Giuseppe Berto, Il male oscuro
- House of Bernarda Alba – Premiere in Madrid (Spanish). Accessed 27 November 2013
- "The Theatre of Cruelty". The Times (55897). London. 1964-01-01. p. 13.
- "Ambitious Example of Theatre of Cruelty". The Times (56096). London. 1964-08-21. p. 11.
- "Chronologie des spectacles et des films du Théâtre du Soleil". Théâtre du Soleil. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Grove Press, Inc., v. Gerstein, 378 U.S. 577 (U.S. Supreme Court 22 June 1964).
- Lycett, Andrew (1996). Ian Fleming. London: Phoenix. p. 442. ISBN 978-1-85799-783-5.
- Henrietta Quinnell, "Fox, Aileen Mary, Lady Fox (1907–2005)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2009) Retrieved 21 November 2017
- "Sean O'Casey - Irish dramatist". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Portraits by Carl Van Vechten – Carl Van Vechten Biography". American Memory. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2010-03-09.