This article presents lists of literary events and publications in 1889.
- January – H. G. Wells begins as a science teacher at Henley House School, north London, where he teaches A. A. Milne, whose father runs the school.
- February 12 – Henrik Ibsen's symbolic drama The Lady from the Sea (1888) receives its first performances simultaneously in Oslo (in Norwegian) and Weimar (in German).
- March 14 – August Strindberg's naturalistic drama Miss Julie (Fröken Julie), 1888, receives its first performance, from the Scandinavian Experimental Theater, at the University of Copenhagen. His wife Siri von Essen plays the title rôle.
- April 24 – The Garrick Theatre in London, financed by playwright W. S. Gilbert, opens with a performance of Pinero's The Profligate.
- May 30 – English publisher Henry Vizetelly is prosecuted for obscenity for the second time in London; he is again fined and imprisoned for his English translations of Émile Zola's works.
- June – Algernon Methuen begins publishing books in England, which is the origin of Methuen Publishing.
- August 30 – Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde are entertained together at dinner at the Langham Hotel, London, by the American Joseph Marshall Stoddart of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine who commissions from them respectively the stories The Sign of the Four and The Picture of Dorian Gray, which appear next year in the magazine.
- September 3 – Jerome K. Jerome's comic fictional English travelogue set on the River Thames, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), is published in Bristol.
- November – Leo Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata is circulated in clandestine copies; in December the Russian authorities confirm that trade publication will not be permitted.
- September 14 – The Volkstheater, Vienna opens with a performance of Der Fleck auf der Ehr (The Stain on Honour) by its Dramaturg, Ludwig Anzengruber, who dies on December 10 from blood poisoning.
- December 12 – English poet Robert Browning dies at Ca' Rezzonico in Venice on the same day his book Asolando; Fancies and facts is published. He is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
- Anton Manwel Caruana's Ineż Farruġ is the first novel originated in the Maltese language.
- Marcel Proust begins a year's service in the French army, stationed at Coligny Barracks in Orléans.
- Theodore Roosevelt publishes the first of four volumes of The Winning of the West in the United States, with three more by 1896.
Children and young peopleEdit
- March 1 – Kanoko Okamoto (岡本 かの子, Ohnuki Kano), Japanese novelist and poet (died 1939)
- April 7 – Gabriela Mistral, Chilean poet, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1957)
- April 18 – Horace Alexander, English current-affairs writer and ornithologist (died 1989)
- May 12 – Ouyang Yuqian (欧阳予倩), Chinese dramatist (died 1962)
- June 23 – Anna Akhmatova, Russian poet (died 1966)
- July 5 – Jean Cocteau, French writer (died 1963)
- July 17 – Erle Stanley Gardner, American author (died 1970)
- August 5 – Conrad Aiken, American novelist and poet (died 1973)
- August 22 – Peter Frederick Anson, English writer on religion and maritime matters (died 1975)
- September 1 – Leonora Eyles, English feminist writer and novelist (died 1960)
- September 15 – Claude McKay, Jamaican American writer (died 1948)
- September 23 – Walter Lippmann, American writer (died 1974)
- September 25 – C. K. Scott-Moncrieff, Scottish writer and translator (died 1930)
- September 26 – Martin Heidegger, German philosopher (died 1976)
- October 18 – Fannie Hurst, American novelist (died 1968)
- November 12 – DeWitt Wallace, American magazine publisher (Reader's Digest) (died 1981)
- January 3 – James Halliwell-Phillipps, English bibliophile (born 1820)
- January 17 – Juan Montalvo, Ecuadorian writer (born 1832)
- April 23 – Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly, French novelist (born 1808)
- June 8 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (born 1844)
- June 15 – Mihai Eminescu, Romanian poet (born 1850)
- August 5 – Fanny Lewald, German novelist (born 1811)
- August 19 – Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, French Symbolist writer (born 1838)
- September 10 – Amy Levy, English feminist poet and novelist (suicide, born 1861)
- September 23 – Wilkie Collins, English novelist (born 1824)
- October 25 – Émile Augier, French dramatist (born 1820)
- November 18 – William Allingham, Irish poet (born 1824)
- December 10 – Ludwig Anzengruber, Austrian poet (born 1839)
- December 12 – Robert Browning, English poet (born 1812)
- December 23 – Constance Naden, English poet and philosopher (born 1858)