Writer Doris Lessing — born in Iran, brought up in Zimbabwe, later residing in Britain — died this month at 94.
When she found out a few years ago, from a reporter, that she’d won the Nobel Prize for Literature, she responded with an expletive. (Later, she announced: “I’m 88 years old and they can’t give the Nobel to someone who’s dead, so I think they were probably thinking they’d probably better give it to me now before I’ve popped off.”)
Her biographer, Michael Holroyd, called her work “outstandingly rich and innovative… [her themes] universal and international… They ranged 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 is 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.”
– November 21, 2013