Doris Lessing wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Members of English PEN today welcomed news of the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Doris Lessing.

Lessing is the oldest writer to be awarded the Nobel in the prize’s history. From The Grass is Singing (1950) to The Cleft (2007), she has been publishing continuously for more than half a century. She is cherished by her fellow writers in this country and around the world, and by her millions of readers.

Alastair Niven, President of English PEN, said: ‘Doris Lessing’s contribution to the development of the modern novel is unique, placing women at the centre of our concerns but constantly responding to the tenor of the times. She is a novelist who never stands still and who has worked in so many forms of fiction. She is bold, innovative and sensory, with a political conscience that should constantly perturb us.’

Lisa Appignanesi, Deputy President of English PEN, said: ‘Doris Lessing has enthralled readers for over half a century and influenced many writers by a radical experimentation which is not often enough acknowledged. Her writing has an ethical concern and a psychological depth and has paused over the great political moments of our time – from racism, through the left’s battle against injustice, women’s independence and the problems of post-colonialism. The Nobel marks a deserved accolade.’

Jonathan Heawood, Director of English PEN, said: ‘Doris Lessing has taken the novel from post-war realism to postmodern fantasy; she has described utopias and dystopias with equally vivid attention; her passion is matched by her humour and her fierce sense of moral rightness by her sensitivity for joy and suffering. With her characteristic modesty, she is a worthy recipient of this year’s Nobel prize.’

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