Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doris Lessing Wins Nobel

In 1981, when I was running away from the army in Swaziland, I had trouble with any reading except pornography and Doris Lessing. It was the Four Gated City that got me and I read it and re-read it. It shaped how I thought about the world at the time, and she was my favourite author until I read Ancient Evenings and discovered Norman Mailer. I heard Lessing speak once and asked, from the audience, what she thought of Mailer. She spoke warmly of him as an admired peer, I'm glad to report. I still think of her as a much loved, literary aunt. So I'm pretty damn delighted to learn that she's got the big one.

"This has been going on for 30 years," said Lessing who put down her shopping bag and sat on her doorstep, head in her hand, after being told of the award by the waiting photographers.
"I've won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I'm delighted to win them all. It's a royal flush," she said.

Gordimer, Coetzee, and now Lessing. Must be something in our Southern African water.

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