Welcome to the website for the Doris Lessing Society! Here you can find resources for studying and enjoying the writings of one of the 20th century's great authors, including a bibliography of recent literary criticism, information about past conferences and panel presentations, and reading guides on selected works for book clubs and independent readers. Also listed here are current Society members and their scholarly interests. If you would like to join, or if you have a question, don't hesitate to click "Contact," above. -- Cornelius Collins, President, Doris Lessing Society


Doris Lessing Studies’s 2018 issue now published

The new issue of Doris Lessing Studies is now published! This year’s issue is volume 36.

As in recent years, the journal is first published here on our web site, in PDF format, for members to download. The contents will also shortly appear in EBSCO’s and ProQuest’s literature databases; contact your library for access instructions to these academic resources. On our site we host an online archive of recent issues; here is the page to join as a member and receive access.

The table of contents:

  • Letter from the President, Cornelius Collins
  • Letter from the Co-Editors, Robin Visel and Dorian Stuber, with Cornelius Collins
  • “Reimagining the Maternal in Jenny Diski’s and Doris Lessing’s Apocalyptic Imaginative Memoirs,” Susan Watkins
  • “‘Rubbish of All Kinds’: Domesticity, Squalor, and Squatting in Doris Lessing’s Fiction,” Mica Hilson
  • “The Representation of Non-Normative Kinship: Sufi Family and Sufi Parenthood in The Memoirs of a Survivor and Ben, in the World,” Selcuk Senturk
  • “Alternative Domesticities, Altered Perspectives: Reading Lessing’s ‘The Grandmothers’ and Diski’s In Gratitude through Nabokov’s Lolita,” Terry Reilly
  • Review: Lara Feigel, Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing, Emma Parker
  • “Fostering Connections, Insight, and Alternative Visions: A Tribute to Phyllis Perrakis,” Debrah Raschke
  • List of Society Officers

2017 student essay contest results

The winner of the 2017 Doris Lessing Society graduate student essay contest has been announced! See this page for more information.



call for papers: Doris Lessing Studies 2018 — deadline 15 June

See the editors’ call for papers for our journal, Doris Lessing Studies, for 2018. There is both a thematic cluster around the topic of our 2018 MLA session, alternative domesticities, and an open-topic call, for essays on any aspect of Doris Lessing’s work.

Updated Call for Papers, Doris Lessing Studies 2018: Special Topic & Open Topic

  1. Special topic

“Alternative Domesticities in the Works of Doris Lessing.”

Following Jenni Diski’s 2016 memoir, In Gratitude, we invite new readings of Lessing’s portrayals of non-biological families, non-normative modes of affiliation and dependence, and unconventional households and genealogies.

  1. Open topic

Our refereed journal, published yearly online, invites submissions on any topic of Doris Lessing’s work. Manuscripts, which should follow the current MLA handbook for style, must be typed, double-spaced, and between twelve and eighteen pages in length. Manuscripts in Microsoft Word should be submitted to the editor, Robin Visel (rvisel@gmail.com) as email attachments. Endnotes should be indicated by superscript numbers manually added within the text and typed in at the end of the article. Contributors may also submit short essays, notes, reviews, news, bibliographies, announcements, and reports of classroom experiences.

Deadline: June 15, 2018

Lara Feigel’s memoir, Free Woman

Lara Feigel, of King’s College London, has recently written a memoir that is, in part, a reflection on her experiences with marriage and motherhood but also, in equally large part, a reflection on reading Doris Lessing — Lessing’s 1962 novel The Golden Notebook, in particular. Feigel’s book is titled Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing and is published by Bloomsbury in the UK.

Linked below are the early reviews from the British press; we’ll update this post when the book appears in North America.

Feigel also wrote a companion essay for The Guardian, here.

Joanna Biggs, Financial Times, 2 Mar. 2018, https://www.ft.com/content/cda276f8-1ca6-11e8-a748-5da7d696ccab

Julie Parsons, The Irish Times, 24 Mar. 2018, https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/free-woman-by-lara-feigel-review-a-journey-into-the-life-of-a-feminist-icon-1.3434084

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 27 Feb. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/feb/27/free-woman-lara-feigel-review-doris-lessing

Patrick French, The Guardian, 3 Mar. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/03/free-woman-life-liberation-doris-lessing-lara-feigel-review

Ruth Scurr, Prospect, 16 Mar. 2018, https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/arts-and-books/sex-lies-and-communism-finding-freedom-through-doris-lessing

Christina Patterson, The Times, 25 Feb. 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/free-woman-doris-lessing-lara-feigel-review-cwmb2plqf (paywall)

Paula Byrne, The Times, 24 Mar. 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/review-free-woman-by-lara-feigel-searching-for-free-love-with-doris-lessing-czmc93x0p (paywall)


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