The University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives is sad to announce that adored British author Doris Lessing passed away peacefully at her home in the early morning hours of Sunday November 17th. Lessing, who produced fifty-five works, including poetry, operas, and short stories, was 94 years old.
Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for her life’s work in 2007. She was the eleventh female, and the oldest individual, to be awarded the prize. Lessing’s works focused on society, Southern Africa where she was raised, colonialism, race, and women’s role in society. Her most famous book, The Golden Notebook, is heralded as being a great classic of feminism. Born in what is now Iran her family later moved to Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Many of her works stem from her experiences in Africa, and the effects of empire on nation states. Until the age of fourteen she was educated at a Catholic girl’s school. She left home to work as a nursemaid at fifteen. While working she was introduced to literature that focused on society, politics, and reform. This period of her life was reflected in her works as an adult. Lessing’s first works were sold to magazines; by the time of her death over fifty of her novels had been published.