Search

From West Hampstead to Zimbabwe: Doris Lessing’s mammoth book collection donated to Harare library

16:33 28 August 2014

Book Aid International volunteers sort through Doris Lessing

Book Aid International volunteers sort through Doris Lessing's mammoth book collection. Picture: www.bookaid.org

Archant

More than 3,000 books began their journey from West Hampstead to Zimbabwe this morning after Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing’s literary collection was bequeathed to Harare City Library.

A view from Doris Lessing's wirting desk at her home in Gondar Gardens, West Hampstead. Picture:  www.bookaid.orgA view from Doris Lessing's wirting desk at her home in Gondar Gardens, West Hampstead. Picture: www.bookaid.org

The former Gondar Gardens resident, writer of over 50 novels ranging from psychological thrillers to science fiction, died at the age of 94 in November last year.

She gained notoriety for her first novel The Grass in Singing (1950) and later The Golden Notebook (1962) - widely considered one of the major works of the 20th century.

Beneficiaries of her Will decided her collection would be sent to the country where she was raised, with charity Book Aid International chosen to deliver the books.

Born in Iran and raised in Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - Ms Lessing left school at 13-years-old and continued to educate herself by reading the works of Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky.

She lived in the country for 25 years, from 1924 to 1949, and returned in 1956, when she was declared a “prohibited migrant” after speaking out about the regime.

She was allowed back to into the country in 1982 and after 1988 she visited Zimbabwe and nurtured two initiatives by the Africa Book Development Organisation and the Africa Community Publishing and Development Trust to provide opportunities for reading and learning through libraries.

Ms Lessing referred to the people of Zimbabwe as “the most passionate readers anywhere in the World”.

Volunteers from Book Aid International and Ms Lessing’s publisher HarperCollins spent an entire day sorting through the collection at her former home.

The charity said: “We found books not just in every room of Lessing’s home, but on shelves in every space where shelves could be fitted, in hallways, under stairs – there were books everywhere. Lessing’s collection consists of a wonderful variety of reference books, non-fiction and fiction, poetry, biographies and history books.

“Every year, Book Aid International sends over 50,000 books to Zimbabwe; we have been working in this country since 1959.

“Libraries in Zimbabwe often have no budget for new books so in many libraries Book Aid International books comprise up to 80 per cent of their collection, including in public libraries, university and school libraries.

“The plan is that the arrival of Doris Lessing’s collection will be celebrated at a literacy festival, with Lessing’s family, friends and Zimbabwean writers.”

The books began their long journey from her former home this morning and are being transported by ship to be delivered to Zimbabwe some time in October.

For information about Book Aid International, visit www.bookaid.org

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

11:07
Fitzjohn's pupils with Greene&Co estate agents Craig Draper, left, and Jack Peet, right, and headteacher Rob Earrey, centre. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Art-loving young winners of a drawing competition had their colourful depictions of Hampstead and Belsize Park turned into bookmarks to encourage more pupils to read.

Yesterday, 17:10
The low rate of burglaries now solved was described as 'very worrying' by the Camden SNB

Burglars breaking into residents’ homes are now getting away with more than 95 per cent of their crimes, figures covering Camden have shown.

Yesterday, 09:48
Chief Supt Richard Tucker, acting Borough Commander of Camden, said the plummit in solved burglaries was down to a change in procedures

Camden’s top police officer has questioned the role his force now plays in dealing with mentally ill residents, warning some of his officers’ actions are having “catastrophic consequences” for vulnerable people.

Yesterday, 07:00
Sarah Cope with children Clementine and Walter, bottom left, and Patrick and Harry Mildren, centre, protest against the estate being earmarked for redevelopment. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Young families and elderly residents who have lived in a housing estate for generations fear their homes could be demolished within a decade under draft redevelopment plans by the council.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Time to expand with the LeefiBRIDGE.

More iOS memory in a flash: Introducing Leef iBRIDGE.

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder