Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing dies aged 94

Doris Lessing has died aged 94

Doris Lessing has died aged 94 - Credit: Archant

Nobel Prize-winning author and West Hampstead resident Doris Lessing has died at her home aged 94.

Writer of over 50 novels ranging from psychological thrillers to science fiction, 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.

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

Across the course of her life she produced some 55 works, including two operas, short stories, plays and non-fiction.

Arguably one of the greatest British writers of the last century, she became the oldest person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature at aged 88.

The Swedish Academy recognised that she had “with scepticism, fire and visionary power subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”.

As tributes continue to flood in from across the literary world, her editor at HarperCollins Nicholas Pearson, Publishing Director, 4th Estate said: “Doris’s long life and career was a great gift to world literature.

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“She wrote across a variety of genres and made an enormous cultural impact.

“Probably she’ll be most remembered for The Golden Notebook which became a handbook to a whole generation, but her many books have spoken to us in so many various ways.

“Doris has been called a visionary and, to be in her company, which was a privilege I had as her editor towards the end of her writing life, was to experience something of that.

“Even in very old age she was always intellectually restless, reinventing herself, curious about the changing world around us, always completely inspirational.

“We’ll miss her hugely.”

Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins UK, added: “Doris Lessing was one of the great writers of our age.

“She was a compelling storyteller with a fierce intellect and a warm heart who was not afraid to fight for what she believed in.

“It was an honour for HarperCollins to publish her.”

She is survived by her daughter Jean and granddaughters Anna and Susannah.