Doris Lessing was born Doris Tayler (note spelling) in Kermanshah in what was then Persia, in 1919. She grew up on a farm in Southern Rhodesia, her family moving there when she was six. Unfortunately, the farm was not financially successful. She left school at the age of thirteen and subsequently educated herself. When she was sixteen, she started work for the telephone company. She later worked for a firm of lawyers and then for the Southern Rhodesian parliament. In 1947 she moved to Cape Town and then, in 1949, to London. In 1939, she married Frank Wisdom. They had two children but they divorced in four years later. In 1945 she married Gottfried Lessing, a German communist, and they had a son, Peter. After they moved to England, Gottfried moved to East Germany, where he eventually became trade commissar. He was killed in Uganda in 1979 while ambassador there. While initially a communist, Lessing soon became disillusioned with it and eventually quit the Party. By his time she had started writing and her first novel, The Grass Is Singing, about white settlers in Rhodesia was successful, not least because it was one of the first works to expose apartheid to the English. With her emphasis on the role of women, consciousness, mysticism (she has been an adherent of Sufism) and various left-wing causes, her writings have been consistently successful and well-received by both critics and the reading public. She won the Nobel Prize in 2007.
Books about Doris Lessing
Katherine Fishburn: Doris Lessing: Life, Work and Criticism