Yesterday, I was greatly saddened learning about the death of author Doris Lessing. Ms. Lessing, along with Iris Murdoch and Nadine Gordimer represented a trio of brilliant British and colonial women authors who were born in the aftermath of the First World War and came into young adulthood at the onset of the Second World War. Now only Ms. Gordimer, the South African, is still with us.
All three of these women were proudly independent in a male-dominated world, and all three became actively engaged in leftist politics, with Lessing and Murdoch actually joining the Communist Party. Lessing and Gordimer won Nobel Prizes in Literature, and Gordimer and Murdoch won Booker Prizes. If the Booker Prize were around in 1962, I am sure Ms. Lessing would have won it for The Golden Notebook.
Although she was a Londoner for more than sixty years, Doris Lessing never felt completely at home in England. She always claimed that the British never accepted her as one of their own. Her nearly thirty years living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) shaped her personality and allowed her, like Gordimer, to identify with the Black African majority in her country.
Farewell Ms. Lessing. You were truly one of the great literary grande dames of our times.