Doris Lessing CH OBE (born Doris May Tayler in Kermanshah, Persia, (now Iran) on 22 October 1919) is a British writer, author of works such as the novels The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook.
In 2007, Lessing won the 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". Lessing is the eleventh woman to win the prize in its 106-year history, and also the oldest person ever to win the literature award.
Because of her campaigning against nuclear arms and South African apartheid, Lessing was banned from that country and from Rhodesia for many years. Lessing moved to London with her youngest son in 1949 and it was at this time her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, was published. Her breakthrough work, written in 1962, was The Golden Notebook.
In 1984, she attempted to publish two novels under a pseudonym, Jane Somers, to demonstrate the difficulty new authors faced in trying to break into print. The novels were declined by Lessing's UK publisher, but accepted by another English publisher, Michael Joseph, and in the US by Alfred A. Knopf.
She declined a damehood, but accepted a Companion of Honour at the end of 1999 for "conspicuous national service". She has also been made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature.
On 11 October 2007, Lessing was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. At 87, she is the oldest person to have received the literature prize and the third oldest Nobel Laureate in any category. She also stands as only the eleventh woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature by the Swedish Academy in its 106-year history. She told reporters outside her home "I've won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I'm delighted to win them all. It's a royal flush."In a 2008 interview for the BBC's Front Row, she stated that increased media interest following the award had left her without time for writing.
* Somerset Maugham Award (1954)
* Prix Médicis étranger (1976)
* Austrian State Prize for European Literature (1981)
* Shakespeare-Preis der Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F. V. S., Hamburg (1982)
* W. H. Smith Literary Award (1986)
* Palermo Prize (1987)
* Premio Internazionale Mondello (1987)
* Premio Grinzane Cavour (1989)
* James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography(1995)
* Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1995)
* Premi Internacional Catalunya (1999)
* Order of the Companions of Honour (1999)
* Companion of Literature of the Royal Society of Literature (2000)
* David Cohen British Literary Prize (2001)
* Premio Príncipe de Asturias (2001)
* S.T. Dupont Golden PEN Award (2002)
* Nobel Prize in Literature (2007)