Doris Lessing was the first strong female author I read. As a teenager I read The Golden Notebook, and encouraged others to do so as well. Every time I lent my copy out the borrower would keep it and buy me a new, pristine copy, claiming it was too battered to return, this happened at least 3 times, so I thought of the book as ever more magical.
I read all the Martha Quest novels, I struggled with some of her sci-fi (I’m not so great with sci-fi, no matter how brilliantly written it is, unless it’s Buffy or Angel, which I don’t count as being part of the oeuvre, despite the monsters/demons and so on!) I lapped up the book about an old lady that Ms Lessing submitted anonymously to publishers to prove that a literary name counted over decent writing, and had rejected!
I decided that when/if I am old she is who I would like to look like, grey hair in a bun, intelligent but with a softness, a wrinkled face that shows the life that one has led, the things one has seen.
And then I forgot all about her!
How on earth did I manage that?
I remember noticing a book of cats.
Anyway, this wonderful author has won the Nobel prize for literature (and I think, how is it that she didn’t before now?) The Swedish Academy describe her as “that epicist of the female experience who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny.”
On being informed by reporters who waited outside her house she apparently said “I’ve won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I’m delighted to win them all. It’s a royal flush,” and sat on her doorstep, fresh from shopping for groceries.
She is 88 on October 22nd, which should be irrelevant, and yet seems wonderful (she was out shopping, and she’s 87 and still witty and sharp, hurrah, or is that ageist?)
Anyway, I feel very pleased.