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Doris Lessing - Author

About the Author

Doris Lessing is one of the most important writers of the second half of the 20th-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. For over fifty years she has been writing provocative, inventive and influential works, ranging from novels, short stories and science fiction to autobiography, drama, poetry, essays and operas. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, was published in 1950, and her international reputation has flourished since then. Among her other celebrated novels are The Golden Notebook, The Summer Before the Dark and Memoirs of a Survivor. She has also published two volumes of her autobiography, Under my Skin (which received the James Tait Black Prize) and Walking in the Shade. Her recent publications include the novels The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog and The Cleft, and Time Bites, a collection of essays. Ms Lessing's collection of short novels, Five, earned her the Somerset Maugham Award in 1954. The French translation of The Golden Notebook (1962) won the Prix Medici in 1976. In 1982 she received the Austrian State Prize for Literature and the Shakespeare Prize, Hamburg. Doris Lessing has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times: Briefing for a Descent into Hell (1971), The Sirian Experiments (1981) and The Good Terrorist (1985) and won the WH Smith Award in 1985. In August 1991, she received an honorary title of Distinguished Fellow in Literature in the School of English and American Studies conferred by University of East Anglia. In 2001 she was awarded the Spanish Prince of Asturias Prize in Literature, the David Cohen British Literature Prize and received a Companion of Honour from the Royal Society for Literature. She was recently short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize and received S. T. Dupont Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature. Doris Lessing died in November 2013.

Featured books by Doris Lessing

Other books by Doris Lessing

The Sirian Experiments

The Sirian Experiments

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/03/1994

The third in Doris Lessing's visionary novel cycle Canopus in Argos: Archives . It is a mix of fable, futuristic fantasy and pseudo-documentary accounts of 20th-century history.

The Making of the Representative for Planet 8

The Making of the Representative for Planet 8

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/03/1994

From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is the fourth instalment in the visionary novel cycle `Canopus in Argos: Archives'. The handsome, intelligent people of Planet 8 of the Canopean Empire know only an idyllic existence on their bountiful planet, its weather consistently nurturing, never harsh. They live long, purposeful, untroubled lives. Then one day The Ice begins, and ice and snow cover the planet's surface. Crops and animals die off, and the people must learn to live with this new desolation. Their only hope is that, as they have been promised, they will be taken from Planet 8 to a new world. But when the Canopean ambassador, Johor, finally arrives, he has devastating news: they will die along with their planet. Slowly they come to understand that their salvation may lie in the creation of one Representative who can save what is most essential to them. Lessing has written a frightening and, finally, hopeful book, a profound and thought-provoking contribution to the science-fiction genre the novel generally.

African Laughter

African Laughter

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/09/1993

Writing inspired by four visits to Zimbabwe, her childhood home, from the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007, Doris Lessing. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Doris Lessing made several visits to her homeland, Zimbabwe, a country from which she had been banned for twenty-five years for her opposition to the government of what was then white Southern Rhodesia. Vividly mingling memory and reportage, Lessing pays passionate and profound testament to an extraordinary country, its landscape, people and unquenchable spirit. `African Laughter' is both a shrewd and perceptive portrait of a modern African state emerging from its bloody and terrible colonial history, and a candid and moving insight into the mind of one of this century's finest writers.

In Pursuit of the English

In Pursuit of the English

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/04/1993

By turns, an unsparing and joyous account of life in a postwar London rooming house by Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. In the early post-war years, Doris Lessing left her native Southern Africa in search of a grail - a life of glamour and refinement that she naively believed England offered everyone. A fascinating, hilarious memoir of her first impressions of her adopted country, `In Pursuit of the English' brilliantly captures Lessing's constant wonder at and growing affection for the people she came to know: the working-class of the East End of London. Lusty, quarrelsome, unscrupulous and full-blooded, they were quite unlike the English she had expected to find ...

London Observed

London Observed

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/1993

Across eighteen short stories, Lessing dissects London and its inhabitants with the power for truth and compassion to be expected of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2007. 'During that first year in England, I had a vision of London I cannot recall now ... it was a nightmare city that I lived in for a year. Then, one evening, walking across the park, the light welded buildings, trees and scarlet buses into something familiar and beautiful, and I knew myself to be at home.' Lessing's vision of London - a place of nightmares and wonder - underpins this brilliantly multifaceted collection of stories about the city, seen from a cafe table, a hospital bed, the back seat of a taxi, a hospital casualty department; seen, as always, unflinchingly, and compellingly depicted.

The Four-Gated City

The Four-Gated City

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/07/1990

The fifth and final book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. `The Four-Gated City' finds Martha Quest in 1950s London and very much part of the social history of the time: the Cold War, the anti-nuclear Aldermaston Marches, Swinging London, the deepening of poverty and social anarchy. Daring to go a step further - as Lessing so often has in her career - the novel ends with the century in the throes of World War Three. In the four previous novels of the `Children of Violence' series, Lessing explored the end of an epoch. Here she trains her gaze on the present - and the future. The disquieting power of her vision revealed across this series finds its culmination in this brave and visionary work.

Landlocked

Landlocked

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/1990

The fourth book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Martha Quest finds herself completely disillusioned. She is losing faith with the communist movement in Africa, and her marriage to one of the movement's leaders is disintegrating. Determined to resist the erosion of her personality, she engages in a love affair and breaks free, if only momentarily, from her suffocating unhappiness.

A Ripple from the Storm

A Ripple from the Storm

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/05/1990

The third book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. ` The personal life of a comrade would be arranged so that it interferes as little as possible with work, he said. Martha had not imagined that the personal talk with Anton would arise like an item on an agenda; she now felt frivolous because she had been looking forward to something different ...' The 'Children of Violence' series established Doris Lessing as a major radical writer. In this third volume, Martha, now free of her stultifying marriage to Douglas, is able to pursue the independent life she has wanted for so long. Her deepening involvement with South African revolutionary politics draws her into a world of fierce commitments and passionate idealism. A time of great change, Martha's young womanhood brings not only immense happiness when she embarks on an affair with a fellow party member, but also great sorrow - for the pain of abandoning Caroline, her baby daughter, left at home with Douglas, never diminishes ...

Martha Quest

Martha Quest

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/1990

The opening book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. When we first meet Martha Quest, she is a girl of fifteen living with her parents on a poor African farm. She is eager for life and resentful of the deadening narrowness of home, and escapes to take a job as a typist in the local capital. Here, in the `big city', she encounters the real life she was so eager to know and understand. As a picture of colonial life, `Martha Quest' succeeds by the depth of its realism alone; but always at its centre is Martha, a sympathetic figure drawn with unrelenting objectivity. Martha's Africa is Doris Lessing's Africa: the restrictive life of the farm; the atmosphere of racial fear and antagonism; the superficial sophistication of the city. And both Martha and Lessing are Children of Violence: the generation that was born of one world war and came of age in another, whose abrasive relationships with their parents, with one another, and with society are laid bare brilliantly by a writer who understands them better than any other.

A Proper Marriage

A Proper Marriage

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/1990

The second book in the Nobel Prize for Literature winner's `Children of Violence' series tracing the life of Martha Quest from her childhood in colonial Africa to old age in post-nuclear Britain. `A Proper Marriage' sees twenty-something Martha beginning to realise that her marriage has been a terrible mistake. Already the first passionate flush of matrimony has begun to fade; sensuality has become dulled by habit, blissful motherhood now seems no more than a tiresome chore. Caught up in a maelstrom of a world war she can no longer ignore, Martha's political consciousness begins to dawn, and, seizing independence for the first time, she chooses to make her life her own.

The Fifth Child

The Fifth Child

Author: Doris Lessing Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/08/1989

A classic tale from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, of a family torn apart by the arrival of Ben, their feral fifth child. `Listening to the laughter, the sounds of children playing, Harriet and David would reach for each other's hand, and smile, and breathe happiness.' Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends - Harriet and David Lovatt's life is a glorious hymn to domestic bliss and old-fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, `full of cold dislike', tears at Harriet's breast. Struggling to care for her new-born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world ...

Author Info

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https://www.dorislessing.org/index.html

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