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Doris Lessing

(Doris May Lessing)
UK flag (1919 - 2013)

aka Jane Somers

Doris Lessing was born in Persia of British parents in 1919. She spent her childhood on her father's farm in what was then Southern Rhodesia. After leaving school at 14 she worked in a variety of jobs including typist, au pair and telephonist, maintaining her interest in writing all the while. Upon arrival in England in 1949 her first novel 'The Grass is Singing' was published (and was subsequently filmed in 1981). In 1952 the publishing of 'Martha Quest' marked the first in her famous sequence of five novels 'Children of Violence' which ended with 'The Four-Gated City' (1969).

Ms Lessing's collection of short novels called 'Five' earned her the Somerset Maugham Award for 1954 and her play 'Play With a Tiger' was presented in the West End in 1962. 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 W H 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.

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery
Non fiction
Anthologies containing stories by Doris Lessing
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Short stories
The Antheap (1953)
Eldorado (1953)
A Home for Highland Cattle (1953)
Hunger (1953)
The Other Woman (1953)
Plants and Girls (1957)
Report on the Threatened City (1971)
Between Men (1988)
England Versus England (1988)
The Eye of God in Paradise (1988)
The Habit of Loving [short story] (1988)
Homage for Isaac Babel (1988)
How I Finally Lost My Heart (1988)
A Letter from Home (1988)
The Old Chief Mshlanga (1988)
The Words He Said (1988)

The Man Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (1971) : Briefing for a Descent into Hell
The Man Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (1981) : The Sirian Experiments: The Report by Ambien II, of the Five
The Man Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (1985) : The Good Terrorist
Nobel Prize in Literature Lifetime Achievement winner (2007)

Books about Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing (1987) by Katherine Fishburn
Doris Lessing (2000) by Carole Klein
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Doris Lessing recommends
Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928)
D H Lawrence
"No one ever wrote better about the power struggles of sex and love."
Tracks (1980)
Robyn Davidson
"This will rank among the best of the books of exploration and travel."
Nervous Conditions (1988)
(Nervous Conditions, book 1)
Tsitsi Dangarembga
"Many good novels written by men have come out of Africa, but few by black women. This is the novel we have been waiting for... it will be a classic."
The Wall (1990)
Marlen Haushofer
"The Wall is a wonderful novel. It is not often that you can say only a woman could have written this book, but women in particular will understand the heroine's loving devotion to the details of making and keeping life, every day felt as a victory."
Mercury (1994)
Anna Kavan
"Heartbreaking and unforgettable."
The Conspiracy (1995)
Jaan Kross
"Jann Kross scope and depth make him a world writer."
Under the Frangipani (2001)
Mia Couto
"An original and fresh tale, quite unlike anything else I have read from Africa. I enjoyed it very much."
English Correspondence (2003)
Janet Davey
"A beguiling and beautiful novel whose quietly intelligent surface conceals dramatic depths. I hope it gets the attention it deserves."
Village of Stone (2004)
Xiaolu Guo
"What could have been a misery of a story has the mysterious charm of a fairy tale or a legend."
The Harmony Silk Factory (2005)
Tash Aw
"A fine, strong, confident novel -- and what a storyteller Tash Aw is. Unputdownable."
My Driver (2009)
Maggie Gee
"Worldly, witty, enjoyable, impressive."

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