Nobel-prize winning author Doris Lessing has passed away peacefully at her home in London this morning. She was 94-years-old.

Doris Lessing
Author Doris Lessing passed away today at the age of 94. Pic: Wikipedia

Lessing, who was brought up in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia), wrote numerous novels of which the most famous is probably ‘The Golden Notebook’, published in 1964.

She was born Doris May Taylor in Iran (then Persia) in 1919, before moving with her  family  to Africa where her father dreamed of becoming rich as a maize-farmer.

He wasn’t very successful, and nor was her first marriage. At the age of 30, and after the Second World War, Doris moved to London with her son and a manuscript she had written about a loveless marriage in a land of poverty and racism.

The  novel was ‘The Grass is Singing’. It was to become her first published novel, and so launch the career of one of the 20th Century’s greatest novelists.

In some of her early books she wrote passionately about communism; and she criticised racism, colonialism and South Africa’s apartheid system. The result was that her books were banned and she was barred in 1956 from both Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. Years later these orders were overturned and in June 1995, she returned to South Africa to visit her daughter and grandchildren.

In 2007 she became the oldest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, at the age of 88, although the outspoken and skeptical visionary’s response, when informed that she’d won the prize, was: “Oh Christ! … I couldn’t care less.”

Some of our Favourite Doris Lessing Quotes:

“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”

“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”

“As you get older, you don’t get wiser. You get irritable.”

“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who’d be kind to me. That’s what people really want, if they’re telling the truth.”

“Laughter is by definition healthy.”

“Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.”

“It is my belief…that the talents every child has, regardless of his official ‘I.Q,’ could stay with him through life, to enrich him and everybody else, if these talents were not regarded as commodities with a value in the success-stakes.”

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Jenni is the co-founder and chief editor of, co-author of The Expat Confessions and co-parent of three gorgeous daughters. After graduating, she worked as a TV producer, political researcher and journalist in South Africa, before moving to London to interview movie stars for international magazines and to tackle British teen angst for London Weekend Television. She has also lived in Australia, and currently lives in France. Jenni is happiest paddle boarding on the Med or sipping rooibos in the bush in Africa. Contact