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Doris Mary Lessing(Taylor)

Awards: David Cohen Prize in 2001 for a Lifetime's achievement on British Literature, Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007

Born: 22/10/1919 in Kermanshah, Persia which is present day Iran where her father worked as a clerk in Imperial Bank of Persia.

Language: English

Nationality: British

Doris had a very chequered career. She left school at the age of 14 and did not pursue formal studies further and was largely self-taught. She did many odd jobs to maintain herself such as being a nursemaid and a telephone operator. She had associated herself with communist think-tanks and raised her voice against Apartheid policy of South Africa for which she was banned entry into that country for many years. In 1949, she left for England to pursue a full fledged writing career. Her first novel "The Grass is Singing" was the starting point of the long journey she took as a writer. Out of her many works, the one which brought her many acclaim and is even today is considered her best piece was The Golden Notebook.

     Her unhappy childhood and the war experience of her father seem to linger in her themes as she sub-consciously fled to the fancy world of imagination to escape the bitterness of reality. Her many novels are deeply autobiographical.

  In a literary survey in 2008, TIMES ranked her 5th from a list of 50 greatest English writers since 1945 i.e. Post Second World War Writers.

Marriage: married to Frank Wisdom in 1937 when she was in Salisbury (at present Harare, capital of Zimbabwe) working as a telephone operator. The marriage ended in divorce in 1943. She later joined a communist book club where she met Gottfried Lessing and married him. Thus her surname changed from Taylor to Lessing.But the marriage ended in divorce in 1949. Gottfried Lessing was murdered in 1979 rebellion against Idi Amin. Doris has not married since then.

Major Influence: Dickens, Kipling, R L Stevenson, Dostoevsky, D H Lawrence

Major Works: The Grass is Singing(1950), Retreat to Innocence(1956),Fourteen Poems(1959), The Golden Notebook(1962), The Summer before the Dark(1973), Memoirs of a Survivor(1974), The Good Terrorist(1985)

We are, all of us made by war, twisted and warped by war, but we seem to forget it. ......... Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing

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