Doris Lessing dies aged 94

Her turbulent early years must have spurred her creativity.  She pulled no punches in her writing which she described as a process of “setting at a distance”.  She ranged across the literary genre and, despite opposition, was unfased by her incursion into science-fiction.  She believed that she’d been awarded the Nobel prize for literature because the Swedish judges thought she wouldn’t have long to live!

Doris Lessing, British writer, at,...

Doris Lessing, British writer, at, Cologne literature festival 2006, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing, born with skins too few,
shaped by Central Africa,
the legacy of World War 1
and literature.

Refugee of lonely childhood,
forged pleasure out of solitude
where her grass was singing
in the old chief’s country.

Refugee of marriages,
divorces, child appendages;
golden notebook memoirs of a survivor
briefing for a descent into hell.

Refugee of communism,
studying Sufism, embracing science fiction
with Shikasta and the Sirian experiment
in the Canopus of Argos.

Noble Nobel.  Oh Christ!
Feisty, inventive,
down-to-earth, brave,
doing everything with all her heart.


17th November 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “Doris Lessing dies aged 94.”  The literary world mourned on hearing that Doris Lessing, the Nobel-prize winning author of The Golden Notebook and The Grass is Singing, among more than 50 novels covering subjects from politics to science fiction, had died peacefully at her London home aged 94.  Doris Lessing was one of the great writers of our age. She was a compelling storyteller with a fierce intellect and a warm heart who was not afraid to fight for what she believed in.  Her themes were universal and international ranging from the problems of post-colonial Africa to the politics of nuclear power, the emergence of a new woman’s voice and the spiritual dimensions of 20th-century civilisation. Few writers have as broad a range of subject and sympathy.  She was one of those rare writers whose work crosses frontiers, and her impressively large output constitutes a chronicle of our time. She has enlarged the territory both of the novel and of our consciousness.

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