The Doris Lessing Society is committed to the scholarly study of Lessing’s work. The Society provides members with a number of settings in which to discuss Lessing’s work, including the annual MLA Convention, the journal Doris Lessing Studies, and the First and Second International Doris Lessing Conferences. The Doris Lessing Society’s formal structure dates from January 1977, when the first issue of the Doris Lessing Newsletter was published. The Newsletter has been published continually since then, with one transitional year in 1989-90. The winter issue of 2001 was the 42nd. With the Spring issue of 2002, the Newsletter became Doris Lessing Studies.
The Special Sessions provided the initial audience for Lessing scholarship at MLA. These sessions, which ran for eight consecutive years (1971-78), led naturally to the idea of a newsletter and a society. Made an Allied Organization of the MLA in 1980, the Doris Lessing Society was born within the MLA and continues to thrive through its annual Allied Organizational Meeting, frequent nonguaranteed collaborative sessions, and the Annual General Meeting at the MLA Convention. The Society’s journal has also grown from strength to strength and is now a highly respected, peer-reviewed source of Lessing scholarship. Numerous papers presented at Lessing MLA sessions have gone on to appear in print. All are welcome to attend these sessions and to submit proposals. Calls for Papers for these sessions are posted on the CFPs page of this website each year. The time and place of our Annual General Meeting held every year at the MLA Convention can be obtained by contacting us.
In April 2004, the Society sponsored the First International Doris Lessing Conference, and in July 2007 sponsored the Second Doris Lessing Conference. Both brought together scholars from all over the world.
Since 1980, the Society has had ten presidents: Claire Sprague (emeriti, Brooklyn College), Ellen Cronan Rose (University of Nevada at Las Vegas), Carey Kaplan (St. Michael’s College), Betsy Draine (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Virginia Tiger (Rutgers University, Newark), Phyllis Perrakis (University of Ottawa), Debrah Raschke (Southeast Missouri State University), Sharon Wilson (Northern Colorado University), Tonya Krouse (Northern Kentucky University), and Alice Ridout (Algoma University).