Monthly Archives: December 2007

Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing’s publisher delivered Lessing’s Nobel Prize lecture in Stockholm yesterday, since the author (now 88) wasn’t well enough to travel. In her lecture, she talks about people living in poverty who are desperate for books to read (a Zimbabwean writer friend of hers taught himself to read using “the labels on jam jars” and “a discarded children’s encyclopaedia”). She contrasts this with a devaluing of literature in richer countries, where “it is common for young men and women who have had years of education, to know nothing about the world, to have read nothing […].”

Lessing’s latest novel imagines an ancient civilization made up solely of women and girls, and what transpires after the first male child is born :