Thursday, October 11, 2007

Iranian-born Doris Lessing Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Doris Lessing

British writer Doris Lessing has been awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. Lessing was born Doris May Tayler in Kermanshah, Iran on October 22, 1919.

The Swedish Academy described Lessing as "the epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny."

Lessing’s father, Alfred Tayler, had moved with his wife, Emily Maude, to Kermanshah to take up a job as a clerk for the Imperial Bank of Persia. In 1925, the family moved to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

She married Gottfried Lessing in Salisbury where both were young Communists and members of the Left Book Club. She moved to London in 1949 and published her first novel, The Grass is Singing, and began her career as a professional writer. The novel chronicled the relationship between a white farmer’s wife and her black servant. Lessing left the Communist movement in 1954. Because of her outspoken views, the governments of both Southern Rhodesia and South Africa declared her a “prohibited alien” in 1956.

Her other novels include The Good Terrorist and Love Again. Her latest novel is The Cleft, published in July.

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