Prizes

Doris Lessing Nabs the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature

By posted at 4:33 am on October 11, 2007 1

So, it wasn’t Philip Roth, Amos Oz, Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, or Thomas Pynchon. Instead the honor has gone to Doris Lessing, a British writer who has explored themes of social issues and dabbled in science fiction. She debuted in 1950 with The Grass is Singing and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times, for Briefing for a Descent into Hell in 1971, The Sirian Experiments in 1981 and The Good Terrorist in 1985 (two out of three of which are now out of print, though likely not for long). Lessing’s most recent book is The Cleft, which came out in August. And, though I’m no Lessing expert, her most notable work is thought to be The Golden Notebook from 1962.

Interestingly, dating back to my bookstore days, out of all the major literary awards – the National Book Award, the Booker, and the Pulitzer – only the Nobel reliably drove significant interest. On the day the prize was announced, customers on the phone and in person would descend on the store, occasionally leading to problems when a relative unknown with little in print, like Imre Kertesz or Elfriede Jelinek, won the award.

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Bonus Links: The curious can dig into articles on Lessing and reviews of her work dating back to 1984 at the New York Times; much of Lessing’s copious output is available at Amazon.





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One Response to “Doris Lessing Nabs the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature”

  1. Robert Boyd
    at 6:38 am on October 11, 2007

    Wow, that's great! I'll never forget reading The Golden Notebook while living in Nigeria. It was an overwhelming experience.

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