Minutes of the Doris Lessing Society Annual Business Meeting, MLA 2011

7 January, 2011


  • Tonya Krouse (President);
  • Robin Visel (recorder);
  • Virginia Tiger;
  • Sally Jacobsen;
  • Sharon Wilson;
  • Paul Schlueter;
  • Tomoko Kuribayashi;
  • Anne Serafin.

President Tonya Krouse called the meeting to order at 1:55 pm. The minutes of the 2009 meeting were approved.

Tonya reported on the treasurer situation. The account has not been transferred to her, although she has been acting treasurer in the absence of Marilyn Seymour, the last treasurer. Tonya will continue to try to gain access to the society’s funds, with support from Robin Visel (former treasurer) and Sharon Wilson (former president). In the interim, members should send dues to Tonya.  The society is in urgent need of a new treasurer/managing editor.  Interested members are urged to come forward.

Tonya announced that the DLS international conference to be held at U Northern Kentucky in May 2011 was cancelled due to insufficient interest.  Only 12 people had submitted proposals, and it would be too late to extend the deadline and publicize the conference at this point. The members discussed an email from Yuan-Jung Cheng, in which she offered to help organize a conference in Taiwan. Virginia Tiger, who is familiar with Yuan-Jung’s university, spoke in favor of this proposal. Members wondered how feasible this would be and suggested that despite the heat the conference would need to be held during the summer so that North Americans and Europeans could attend, and that it would be helpful if costs could be subsidized by the university and government. It was also noted that some registration money should be paid to the DLS. It was suggested that the president pursue the possibility of a 2012 conference and report back to the members.

Members agreed that Tonya should send quarterly emails to keep them informed about the activities of the society.  Tonya promised to do so.  Tonya and Vice President Alice Ridout will reconcile the dates in the DLS by-laws with the new MLA dates, and set up the mechanism for electronic voting before next year’s MLA. Tonya and Alice will also explore strategies to increase membership and participation in the society.

Re the essay contest, Tonya will send out a spring email reminder of the May 2011 deadline.

The members discussed panels for MLA 2012. Tonya reminded the society that we now have only one guaranteed panel and may propose one collaborative panel with another society and/or a second stand alone panel (with the collaborative panel more likely to be approved). Tonya has agreed to collaborate with the Virginia Woolf Society for MLA 2012. The theme is Home, and the plan is for two Woolf and two Lessing papers.  The members also discussed the possibility of a Lessing panel at the Louisville Conference as well as other venues.

Re the guaranteed session for next year, members proposed a Golden Notebook panel, a propos of Toril Moi’s upcoming NEH seminar on the topic; a panel of papers from the cancelled Lessing conference; or Canonicity and Lessing.  The members voted to approve the topic of Canonicity and Lessing, to be organized and chaired by Virginia Tiger.

Paul Schlueter reported that Doris Lessing is in frail health; at 91, she has suffered a stroke and is not writing or reading.

Sharon Wilson announced that she will chair a panel for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Discussion Group on Women’s Utopian and Dystopian fictions and invited submissions from DLS members.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 pm.