Search

Doris Lessing memorial service: Literary world pays tribute to West Hampstead’s Nobel Prize winning author

19:16 07 April 2014

The literary world today remembered Nobel Prize-winning author and West Hampstead resident Doris Lessing. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The literary world today remembered Nobel Prize-winning author and West Hampstead resident Doris Lessing. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Friends, family and figures from across the literary world gathered to pay tribute to West Hampstead resident and Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing today.

Doris Lessing at a book reading at West End Lane Books. Picture: Nigel SuttonDoris Lessing at a book reading at West End Lane Books. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The much-lauded novelist, who died peacefully at her home in Gondar Gardens in November, aged 94, was considered one of the most prominent, outspoken and controversial writers of the 20th century.

Penning more than 50 novels ranging from psychological thrillers to science fiction, she gained notoriety for her first novel The Grass is Singing (1950) and later The Golden Notebook (1962).

She also became the oldest person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 88.

It was a sign of her work’s impact that so many high-profile literary figures attended a memorial service for her in St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square today.

Prominent guests included BBC creative director Alan Yentob, novelist Rose Tremain and biographer Sir Michael Holroyd.

Choir singers performed Lessing’s favourite pieces by Philip Glass, who she had collaborated with on an opera, and Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, while close friends revealed the woman behind the novels.

Some of her actor friends also performed readings of her work.

Academic and novelist Christopher Bigsby spoke of Lessing’s love of books while growing up in Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe - and her “fierce loyalty to individuals and ideas”.

“Books opened her life and fired her imagination,” he said.

“She wanted above all to put books in the hands of children, in this country and in Africa.

“She wanted to open their lives in the same way.”

Politics – both local and international – were also remembered as key to understanding her “skills at provocation”.

Taking place in a church that took on a pivotal role in the anti-apartheid movement in the UK, Lessing’s struggle against prejudice, colonialism and “tyranny” were a consistent theme during the service.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has said the government must now do its best to deliver for the country in the aftermath of the Referendum

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has urged the government to make the best of the shock EU Referendum result as the Conservative Party tears itself apart in the aftermath.

Councillor Andrew marshall

One of Camden’s most Europhile councillors will not seek re-election as a Conservative in 2018 because of his anger at how some within the party behaved during the Referendum campaign.

10:34
The impact of Brexit is being assessed

Workers in the Square Mile are bracing for months of pain as banks and financial institutions begin the process of considering whether to slash jobs or relocate to Europe in the wake of Brexit.

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Camden's desire to remain in the EU placed it at odds with the nation's clear choice to leave

As the nation woke up to a political earthquake, campaigners in Camden and Haringey began to process the disconnect between the north London desire to remain in the European Union and the country’s decisive choice for Brexit.

Friday, June 24, 2016
Camden Town Hall in Judd Street

A dozen Camden Council employees have been dismissed in the past year because they did not have the right to work in the UK, a report has revealed.

Another employee resigned whilst one was suspended due to right to work in the UK issues.

Friday, June 24, 2016
Camden has voted to remain in the European Union

Camden and Haringey voters have opted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
EU referendum polling station at Keat’s Community Library, Keat’s Grove Hampstead NW3

After all the campaigning, the polls have finally closed for the EU referendum.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer on the Referendum Day campaign trail in Camden

As the nation went to the polls this morning, Labour’s big hitters - including leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan - took to the streets of Haringey and Camden in a last-ditch bid to persuade voters to remain in the EU.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe