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Doris Lessing

AKA Doris May Tayler

Born: 22-Oct-1919
Birthplace: Kermanshah, Iran
Died: 17-Nov-2013
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Cremated, Golders Green Crematorium, London, England

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Novelist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Children of Violence series

Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007. Her novels, ranging from autobiographical to science fiction, were often controversial for their feminist perspectives and strong ideological views. She wrote of colonial Africa, the unwieldy emotions of romance, societal collapse, mental anguish, cosmic warfare, and nuclear apocalypse. Her first novel, The Grass is Singing, was published in 1949, and her best-known works include The Golden Notebook and The Children of Violence and Canopus in Argos series.

Born in British-controlled Persia (now Iran) and raised in Rhodesia (then a British colony, now Zimbabwe), Lessing chaffed at Catholic school and ended her formal education at 13. Her father, a British military officer, told her vivid tales of the horrors of World War I, and her mother wanted her to become a proper lady. She left the family when she was 15, married and divorced twice in rapid succession, then never again bothered with wedlock. She died in 2013.

Father: Alfred Tayler (bank clerk)
Mother: Emily Maude McVeagh Tayler (nurse)
Brother: Harry Tayler (b. 1921)
Husband: Frank Wisdom (civil servant, m. 1939, div. 1943, two children)
Son: John Wisdom (b. 1939)
Daughter: Jean Wisdom (b. 1941)
Husband: Gottfried Lessing (German-Jewish emigrant, div. 1949, one son)
Son: Peter Lessing (b. 1947)

    High School: Dominican Convent High School, Harare, Zimbabwe (dropped out)

    Prix Médicis étranger 1976 for The Gold Coronet
    Nobel Prize for Literature 2007
    British Ancestry

Official Website:

Author of books:
The Grass is Singing (1949, novel)
Martha Quest (1952, novel)
Going Home (1957, memoir)
In Pursuit of the English (1960, memoir)
The Golden Notebook (1962, novel)
Briefing for a Descent Into Hell (1971)
The Story of a Non-Marrying Man (1972, short stories)
This Was the Old Chief's Country (1973, short stories)
The Sun Between Their Feet (1973, short stories)
The Memoirs of a Survivor (1975, novel)
The Diary of a Good Neighbour (1983, novel, pseudonym Jane Somers)
If the Old Could... (1984, novel, pseudonym Jane Somers)
The Good Terrorist (1986, novel)
The Fifth Child (1988, novel)
Love, Again (1996, novel)
Mara and Dann (1999, novel)
Ben, In the World (2002, novel, Sequel to The Fifth Child)
The Sweetest Dream (2002, novel)

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