Monday, November 18, 2013

The Passing of Doris Lessing

Yesterday, the writer Doris Lessing passed away after a long career as one of the foremost authors of her generation. Feted for being a feminist writer and recipient of the Nobel Prize, she was never comfortable with either label, and constantly refused to be put into specific categories in either her writing or in her personal life.

Lessing’s The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook are a couple of my favorite works written by this truly unique author. Her experiences in Africa during the height of imperialism, and her disillusion during WWII in Europe shaped the writing in all her books, which drew heavily from her personal life. I certainly didn’t always agree with everything Lessing said in her books, but many of her ideas definitely struck a chord in me as I’m sure they did in many others. In interviews, she also spoke out against creative writing classes (which she said would have dissuaded her from becoming an author if she ever took them), and she also didn’t pay much heed to book awards even when she received the Nobel Prize.

What are some of your favorite works by Lessing? Or which ones do you plan on reading now? Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?