Doris Lessing

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Doris May Lessing CH (née Tayler; born 22 October 1919) is a British writer, author of works such as the novels The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook.

Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was described by the Swedish Academy as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny".[1] Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest ever person to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.[2][3][4]

In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British Literature. In 2008, The Times ranked her fifth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".[5]

Contents

Background

Lessing was born in Iran, then known as Persia, on 22 October 1919, to Captain Alfred Tayler and Emily Maude Tayler (née McVeagh), who were both English and of British nationality.[6] Her father, who had lost a leg during his service in World War I, met his future wife, a nurse, at the Royal Free Hospital where he was recovering from his amputation.[7][8]

Alfred Tayler and his wife moved to Kermanshah, Iran, in order to take up a job as a clerk for the Imperial Bank of Persia and it was here that Doris was born in 1919.[9][10] The family then moved to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1925 to farm maize, when her father purchased around one thousand acres of bush. Lessing's mother attempted to lead an Edwardian life style amidst the rough environment, which would have been easy had the family been wealthy; it was not. The farm was not successful and failed to deliver the wealth the Taylers had expected.[11]

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