Doris Lessing Society
Annual General Meeting
Saturday, 9 January, 2016
Austin, TX


  • Cornelius Collins (presiding)
  • Dorian Stuber (minutes)
  • Paul Schlueter
  • Robin Visel
  • Jim O’Hare
  • Anne Serafin
  • Earl Ingersoll
  1. Society President Cornelius Collins called the meeting to order at 8:50 pm.
  2. Those present approved the agenda.
  3. Those present approved the minutes from the last meeting (8 January 2015: Thanks to Tonya Krouse for taking them).
  4. Reports
    1. Cornelius gave the President’s Report, highlighting two things. The first is that the MLA has renewed us as an allied organization for the next seven years. In doing so, the MLA cited membership growth and diversity of participation (presumably in our panels at MLA, and presumably in terms of the different career stages of our presenters). The second concerns coverage of Doris Lessing Studies in online scholarly databases. Everyone present agreed that the wisest possible coverage was desirable, especially as today’s students rely so heavily on those databases, and we want the journal to be as widely read as possible. We have an agreement with EBSCO, although their literature databases are not the most prominent in the field. Ought we reach out to other database services (e.g., ProQuest) and can we afford it? Cornelius will canvas the membership for more opinions.
    2. Co-editor Robin Visel presented an update on Doris Lessing Studies. The move to publishing online has been good for our members but not so good for our institutional subscribers, most of which require a third party such as Serials Solutions. We did not know this until some institutional subscribers began canceling as a result of the change. The move towards a single issue a year has been much more positive, bringing our stated goals in line with what had become actual practice. Acceptance rate remains high: we need more submissions.
      Cornelius congratulated Robin and Phyllis for a stimulating and professional issue.
    3. As the acting Treasurer was not present, no Treasurer’s Report was given.
  1. Old Business. We still need a member who is a US citizen to relieve Alice Ridout of the acting Treasurer position. Society Member Fatemeh Kiani has been helping obtain information about tax issues for non-profit groups in the US, and she has expressed interest in serving as Treasurer. Cornelius will reach out to her again.
  1. New Business.
    1. We discussed topic proposals for the 2017 MLA convention. Topics suggested included: Recent biographical work on Doris Lessing (the Jenny Diski pieces in LRB, the Patrick French biography that is in process); Lessing and her contemporaries; Lessing and the New Formalism—i.e. what happens if we read Lessing with attention to form and craft?; and which Lessing texts are currently being taught. Cornelius will consider and make suggestions.
    2. We received four submissions for the graduate essay contest. Cornelius and Vice President Dorian Stuber judged the competition and have given the prize to Kortney Stern of Mills College. Those present discussed whether it would be possible revive the undergraduate prize. Cornelius suggested a cash prize (say $50) would be more appealing to undergraduates than a society membership. Dorian suggested a small prize also go to the faculty member who sponsors the winning essay for their mentoring work. Discussion was inconclusive, given that we don’t know exactly how the Society’s finances stand.
  1. The meeting adjourned at 10:01 pm.