Doris Lessing was a British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively calledChildren of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known asCanopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983).
Doris Lessing short biography
Lessing was born Doris May Tayler in Kermanshah, Iran, on 22 October 1919
In 1925, the family moved to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to farm maize and other plants on about 1,000 acres (400 ha) of bush that Alfred bought.
Lessing was educated at the Dominican Convent High School, a Roman Catholic convent all-girls school in Salisbury (now Harare).She left school at age 14, and worked as a nursemaid.
Career Doris personal life
In 1937, Lessing moved to Salisbury to work as a telephone operator, and she soon married her first husband, Frank Wisdom, with whom she had two children, before the marriage ended in 1943.
After her first divorce, Lessing’s interest was drawn to the popular community of the Left Book Club, a communist book club which she had joined the year before. It was here that she met her future second husband, Gottfried Lessing. They married shortly after she joined the group, and had a child together (Peter), before they divorced in 1949. She did not marry again.
Lessing moved to London in 1949 with her youngest son, Peter, to pursue her writing career and communist beliefs, but left the two elder children with their father in South Africa.
In 1956, following the Soviet invasion of Hungary, she left the British Communist Party.
Career Doris Lessing
Lessing first sold stories to magazines at the age of 15, in South Africa. Her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, was published in 1950. Her breakthrough work, The Golden Notebook, was written in 1962. By the time of her death, more than 50 of her novels had been published.
In 1982, Lessing tried to publish two novels under a pseudonym, Jane Somers, to show the difficulty new authors faced in trying to have their works in print. The novels were declined by Lessing’s UK publisher, but were later accepted by another English publisher, Michael Joseph, and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf. The Diary of a Good Neighbour was published in Britain and the US in 1983, and If the Old Could in both countries in 1984, both as written by Jane Somers. In 1984, both novels were re-published in both countries (Viking Books publishing in the US), this time under one cover, with the title The Diaries of Jane Somers: The Diary of a Good Neighbour and If the Old Could, listing Doris Lessing as author.
Lessing declined a damehood in 1992 for it being in the name of a non-existent Empire; also declined appointment as OBE in 1977. Later she accepted appointment as a Companion of Honour at the end of 1999 for “conspicuous national service”.She was also made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature.
In 2007, Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Doris Lessing death
During the late 1990s, Lessing suffered a mini-stroke which stopped her from travelling during her later years. She died on 17 November 2013, aged 94, at her home in London.