On this day in 1919, Doris May Taylor Lessing was born in Kermanshah, in what is now Iran, but was then Persia. She spent her early life in Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia), moving to the UK in 1949, where she almost immediately set about building her astonishing body of work.
A serial collector of literary awards, beginning with the 1954 Somerset Maugham Award and culminating, of course, with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007, Doris Lessing was a literary giant. She is all the more remarkable for having built such a career and repuation while unashamedly writing science fiction along side her mimetic works. Dare we suggest that if more ‘literary’ writers had the same good grace to acknowledge the toolkit from which they liberally borrowed ideas, the world would be – if only ever so slightly – a fairer place.
Happy Birthday, Doris Lessing, we salute you!