Minutes of the Doris Lessing Society Annual Business Meeting, 2012

2012 Modern Languages Association Convention
Doris Lessing Society Business Meeting
Location: Ravenna C, Sheraton Hotel, 8:45pm
Saturday, January 7, 2012


  • Tonya Krouse (presiding);
  • Alice Ridout (note-taking);
  • Sally Jacobsen;
  • Sharon Wilson;
  • Josna Rege;
  • Yuan-Jung Cheng;
  • Paul Schlueter;
  • Suzette Henke;
  • Molly Pulda;
  • Cornelius Collins;
  • Sandra Singer;
  • Joseph Linzmeier.

Determined that Alice Ridout would take minutes of meeting as our secretary, Yuan-Jung Cheng, was unavoidably delayed.

2011 Business Meeting Minutes Approved. It was noted that the suggestion that a future Doris Lessing Conference should give some of any profits made to the Society was not voted on and agreed at the 2011 meeting and would not be a stipulation of the next Doris Lessing Conference as this may make it institutionally impossible for anyone to host a future conference.

Report on budget. The President’s Fund (US$1675.63) has been transferred from out-going President, Tonya Krouse, to in-coming President, Alice Ridout via a bank cheque. Alice Ridout will open a bank account for this President’s Fund.

It was of grave concern to us at the time of our Business Meeting that the cheque from the out-going Treasurer had not yet been received by in-coming Acting Treasurer, Alice Ridout. Alice Ridout should open a bank account for Doris Lessing financial business as soon as possible as there are cheques to pay in and money outstanding to the Doris Lessing Studies editors. Once that is done and money owed paid out, she should try to get the new Vice President (Cornelius Collins was elected at the meeting (see below)) added as a co-signatory. (Update: Since the meeting, that cheque has arrived safely.)

Current funds stand at US$6,742.50 with US$3,988.81 owing to Phyllis Perrakis for previously printed issues of DLS; CAN$672.35 owing to Sandra Singer for 29.2 (October 2011) of DLS; and a further issue still to be invoiced to the Society by Phyllis Perrakis. Acting Treasurer, Alice Ridout, will prepare a full Financial Report as soon as possible and will also be collecting past dues for 2011 and current dues for 2012. Cheques for US$16 can be mailed to Alice Ridout, Algoma University, 1520 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, P6A 2G4. We hope that payment via PayPal will be available soon.

Report on Doris Lessing Studies. Many thanks to Phyllis Perrakis, Sandra Singer, Jeanie E. Warnock, Nadine Mayhew, and Special Issue editors Molly Pulda and Robin Visel for their hard work in getting 29.2 (Winter, 2010/2011) and 30.1 (Fall, 2011) out to us. Please see number 3 above for details of the outstanding financial situation with regards to DLS.

Election of new Treasurer and Vice President for the society. With no volunteer for the position of Treasurer, current Acting Treasurer and in-coming President, Alice Ridout, agreed to continue to act as Treasurer until things are in a more organized state and will then move towards handing the position of Treasurer over to the Vice President. It was suggested that having the Vice President concurrently hold the position of Treasurer could be an efficient way of filling these roles. It was noted that we would need to check MLA rules for Allied Societies to ensure this is in keeping with their requirements.

The Society unanimously voted in Cornelius Collins as Vice President. Cornelius Collins is currently a Post -Doctoral Fellow at Fordham University. He completed his doctoral work at Rutgers University (New Brunswick). His doctoral thesis examined contemporary globalization narratives of decline and collapse, which included a chapter on Lessing. If you would like to get a sense of his exciting work on Lessing, his article adapted from that chapter on Lessing and entitled “‘A Horizontal, Almost Nationless Organization’: Doris Lessing’s Prophecies of Globalization” was published in Twentieth-Century Literature 56.2 (Summer 2010).

General report on the state of the Doris Lessing Society. Welcome to new president Alice Ridout. At this point in the meeting we did have some extensive discussions about a possible Third International Doris Lessing Conference. Options included: holding it in Asia, Linda Weinhouse hosting it in Baltimore, having a day conference before or after the MLA Convention in Boston, approaching the Margaret Atwood Society about holding a joint conference in order to boost our numbers and maximize value for money for travel expenses. It was agreed that we should open this discussion up to the Society as a whole via email and, if necessary, an online vote.

We also discussed the website which Debrah Raschke has done such a diligent job of keeping up to date. Her institutional IT support is about to be reconfigured so we are looking into moving and re-designing the website in order to enable new interactive technologies. Alice Ridout will apply for a student assistant this summer through a program on her campus at Algoma University to get some technical assistance with this. If this is not successful, we may need to explore other options.

MLA 2013 Panels. Guaranteed Allied Society panel on The Golden Notebook as 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of this important novel (suggested title: ‘The Golden Notebook: Fifty Years On’); Propose a second collaborative panel with the D.H. Lawrence Society (it was suggested we approach Earl Ingersoll to see if he would be interested in this as he presented on the D.H. Lawrence panel at this year’s MLA Convention); Gene Bell is interested in doing a panel on Third Culture Kids (children who are born to parents living outside their own culture who grow up in an interstitial or ‘third’ culture between their parents’ imported home culture and the native culture of the country they are living in) and would be keen to have the support of the Doris Lessing Society for his roundtable proposal.

Tonya Krouse is planning to arrange Special Sessions of the Doris Lessing Society at the Louisville Conference in the future so watch out for upcoming cfp’s.

Paul Schlueter shared a very moving account of his recent visits to see Doris Lessing. Apologies to those who wanted it to be recorded. It didn’t seem appropriate to record such a personal reflection and we didn’t have the technology to do so. Suffice to say Paul Schlueter reflected on 48 years in Lessing studies and knowing Lessing. He perceived a marked decline in her health and vitality when he visited her last and reported that the media attention around the Nobel had been intense but has now died down.

Meeting adjourned at 10:33pm.