11 October 2007

Doris Lessing wins Nobel Prize

Doris Lessing has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature for her life's work over a 57-year career, including The Grass is Singing, The Golden Notebook and Memoirs of a Survivor.

Lessing told BBC Radio "I've won it. I'm very pleased and now we're going to have a lot of speeches and flowers and it will be very nice. She recalled that, in the 1960s, "they sent one of their minions especially to tell me they didn't like me at the Nobel Prize and I would never get it. So now they've decided they're going to give it to me. So why? I mean, why do they like me any better now than they did then?" The author, who turns 88 on 22 October, said she thought she had become more respectable with age. They can't give a Nobel to someone who's dead so I think they were probably thinking they had better give it to me now before I popped off." she said.

Lessing is only the 11th woman to win the Literature prize and only the 34th woman to win any Nobel prize, The Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, described Lessing as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". In addition to the Nobel cash prize, Lessing will receive a gold medal and an invitation to give a lecture at the academy's headquarters in Stockholm..

Lessing was born in Persia then moved to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) as a child before. She settled in England in 1949. Her debut novel The Grass is Singing was published the following year. She is the second British citizen to be awarded a Nobel prize this year: Sir Martin Evans director of School of Biosciences and professor of mammalian genetics at Cardiff University.shares the Medicine prize along with Americans Mario Capecchi, and Oliver Smithies (who was born and educated in England) for their work on stem cells and genetic manipulation.

It’s a long time since I’ve read any of her works. Like a lot of people I will be digging through the boxes of stored books or heading off to the bookshop....

6 comments:

Roland Dodds said...

The Grass is Singing is a great book; congrats to her. Have you ever seen the Swedish film adaptation?

jams o donnell said...

I've never seen it. I will have to look out for it Roland.

Liz said...

She sounded wonderful and eccentric and dotty on the radio!

jams o donnell said...

I wish I caught the interview Liz. Looking at the transcript it would have been good to hear her reaction!

jmb said...

About time too. She should have got it before Nadine Gordimer did.
It's many years since I've read her too, but I won't be rereading. Too many books, so little time!

jams o donnell said...

Ach there are some who really deserved a Nobel who didn't get it at all... I will re-read some Lessing but it will be a while.. Too many books too, Jmb!