How to win a Nobel Prize

October 14, 2007

Or rather — how to react on learning that you have.

Doris Lessing’s response on being told she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature was a muttered, ‘Oh crap’.

Helen at Umbrella Blog gives a good appreciation of Lessing’s work here (after hammering the decision to give the Peace Prize to Al Gore).

I’ve always been a huge fan of Lessing. About 20 years ago I happened across the first of the ‘Children of Violence’ tetralogy — Martha Quest — and was instantly hooked. I hunted down the other four volumes straightaway and consumed them (I think that’s the right word for it) in a few days. The marvellous ‘Canopus in Argus: Archives’ science fiction series followed, as did Memoirs of a Survivor (which I struggled with a bit), The Good Terrorist, Mara and Dann and The Sweetest Dream.

She is one of the greatest writers of this and the previous century. Or any other.

Update: Lessing is getting some flak for this interview. Hmm.


  1. The Good Terrorist is the only book of Lessing’s that I have read. I must amend that situation.

    What a great reaction to winning such an important prize.

  2. Did DL write poetry?

  3. Yes, jm. Can’t find any on the intertubes to link, though. I’m more familiar with her novels and short stories.

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