2007-10-11

Doris Lessing ...

... yet another Nobel Prize winner I have barely heard of and never read. Well, almost.

I always know there is a novelist called Doris Lessing out there. But for some stupid reason (because of her name), I always have the impression that she wrote chick/chook lit. So, not only have I not read any of her work, I actually never felt curious enough to check what she actually wrote.

A few days ago, I went to the local library and saw a "new" book by Doris Lessing called The Good Terrorist. It was actually just a new reprint (as part of the "Harper Perennial Modern Classics" series). The title seems interesting, and at the back of the book, there's a short Q&A with the author. On writing about groups and group dynamic, she remarked that "there's usually a boss, and a younger person who wants to be a boss, for example, and the girls are nearly always tea-makers by nature. When I was writing The Good Terrorist there was a squat opposite my house where all this sort of thing was going on. There was a woman who served everybody - or so it would appear - whilst the men were all writing up slogans and treating her abominably." I decided right away that I have to read it.

Nice to meet you, Ms Lessing, and congratulations too.

(Extracted from Associated Press) Doris Lessing pulled up in a black cab where a media horde was waiting Thursday in front of her leafy north London home. Reporters opened the door and told her she had won the Nobel Prize for literature, to which she responded: "Oh Christ ... I couldn't care less."

"I've won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I'm delighted to win them all, the whole lot, OK?" Lessing said, making her way through the crowd. "It's a royal flush."

"I'm sure you'd like some uplifting remarks," she added with a smile.

"I can't say I'm overwhelmed with surprise," Lessing said. "I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off."

Surrounded by members of the international media in her flower-packed garden, Lessing was dismissive of the Nobel — calling the award process graceless and saying the prize "doesn't mean anything artistically."

She acknowledged the $1.5 million cash award was a lot of money, but still seemed less than thrilled.

Lessing brightened when a reporter asked whether the Nobel would generate interest in her work.

"I'm very pleased if I get some new readers," she said. "Yes, that's very nice, I hadn't thought of that."

You've got at least one new reader, Ms Lessing.