Author Archive

Proposals Deadline Extended: Doris Lessing Society Sessions at MLA 2021

Dear Doris Lessing Scholars,

In view of the coronavirus, we are extending the submissions deadline for proposals for the Doris Lessing Society sessions at the 2021 MLA Convention to Monday, March 23, 2020. Please find below the CFPs for the two sessions the Society hopes to sponsor at the MLA, to be held in Toronto, Canada, Jan 7-10, 2021. As an Allied Organization of the MLA we are guaranteed one session and can propose a second. The second is designed to fit the theme of the convention which, in 2021, will be Persistence.

  1. Roundtable: Doris Lessing’s Global Readership
    Thirty years after Claire Sprague’s collection,In Pursuit of Doris Lessing: Nine Nations Reading, Lessing’s readership is more globally dispersed and more locally situated. Inviting 300-word abstracts for 10-minute presentations in micro/macro, cultural/transcultural frames.
    Deadline for submissions: Monday, 23 March 2020[Note extended deadline]
    Josna Rege, Worcester State U (jrege@worcester.edu)
  2. Through the Hard Times: Outlasting Tyranny in Speculative Fiction
    Doris Lessing, Atwood, Coetzee, Butler, and Le Guin, among others, show us what persistence looks like and what to preserve until the walls come down. Comparative papers welcomed. Please send 300-word abstract with short bio.
    Deadline for submissions: Monday, 23 March 2020 [Note extended deadline]
    Josna Rege, Worcester State U (jrege@worcester.edu)

Calls for Papers: DLS sessions at MLA Toronto, 2021

Dear Doris Lessing Scholars,
I am copying below calls for papers for two sessions the Society is proposing for the next MLA convention, which will be held in Toronto, Canada, Jan 7-10, 2021. As an Allied Organization of the MLA we are guaranteed one session and can propose a second. The second is often designed to fit the theme of the convention, which, in 2021, will be Persistence. 
Please write to me with any questions. 
Thank you, 
Josna Rege
Current President, DLS

Doris Lessing Society: Call for Papers for two sessions
2021 Modern Language Association Annual Convention
Toronto, 7–10 January 2021
Please write to Josna Rege (email address below) with any questions. 

1. Roundtable: Doris Lessing’s Global Readership
Thirty years after Claire Sprague’s collection, In Pursuit of Doris Lessing: Nine Nations Reading, Lessing’s readership is more globally dispersed and more locally situated. Inviting 300-word abstracts for 10-minute presentations in micro/macro, cultural/transcultural frames.
Deadline for submissions: Monday, 16 March 2020
Josna Rege, Worcester State U (jrege@worcester.edu)

2. Through the Hard Times: Outlasting Tyranny in Speculative Fiction
Doris Lessing, Atwood, Coetzee, Butler, and Le Guin, among others, show us what persistence looks like and what to preserve until the walls come down. Comparative papers welcomed. Please send 300-word abstract with short bio.
Deadline for submissions: Monday, 16 March 2020
Josna Rege, Worcester State U (jrege@worcester.edu )


Doris Lessing at 100: one month away

“Lessing at 100: The Writer’s Quest,” a conference marking Doris Lessing’s centennial, is taking place at the University of East Anglia next month! A full slate of papers and several special events, with appearances by authors such as Margaret Drabble, are scheduled. Registration to attend the conference is open through 16 August. See the website for more information: http://dorislessing100.org/

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inviting submissions for Doris Lessing Studies, 2019 (by 1 Sept.)

From the editors of Doris Lessing Studies:

Our refereed journal, published yearly online, invites submissions on any topic of Doris Lessing’s work, including this year’s special focus: considerations of Doris Lessing at 100. To follow on this year’s MLA panel on the same theme, we seek essays reflecting on and reckoning with Lessing’s vision of the past century; assessing what’s changed since 1919; or weighing her canonicity for the twenty-first century.

Contributors may also submit short essays, notes, reviews, news, bibliographies, announcements, and reports of classroom experiences.

Manuscripts should follow the current MLA handbook for style (MLA 8) and between twelve and twenty pages in length, double-spaced. Submit manuscripts as email attachments in Word to the editors, Cornelius Collins and Alice Ridout: dorislessingstudies at gmail.com. Endnotes should be indicated by superscript numbers manually added within the text and typed in at the end of the article.

Deadline: September 1.


deadline Apr. 30: Doris Lessing 100 conference, University of East Anglia

The deadline for submitting a proposal to participate in the conference marking Doris Lessing’s centenary, taking place this fall at the University of East Anglia (UK), is almost here: April 30! See details below or visit the conference website.

12th-14th September 2019
UEA Thomas Paine Centre
The School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA is hosting an international conference to mark the centenary of Doris Lessing’s birth.

Doris Lessing is one of the most widely-read and culturally important writers of the twentieth century, yet her academic reputation does not reflect this fact. On the occasion of her centenary, this conference proposes a new critical exploration of the life and work of a complex and multifaceted writer, presenting an opportunity to rethink her contribution to modern literature. It also seeks to establish Lessing as a central figure in twentieth-century literature who traverses a range of forms, styles, periodising categories, genres, political orientations, and readerships.

The conference will take place at the University of East Anglia, an institution that Lessing had a strong connection with, and to which she donated her extensive personal papers on her death. The event will coincide with an exhibition dedicated to Lessing’s life and work in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at UEA, which will see letters, manuscripts and personal effects on public display for the first time.

Please see the conference website at http://dorislessing100.org/ for more details.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Patrick French (Lessing’s official biographer) in conversation with Professor Christopher Bigsby (UEA)
Dr. Nick Hubble (Brunel University)
Professor Roberta Rubenstein (American University, Washington)

Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

Lessing’s relationship to questions of gender, feminism and women’s liberation
Lessing’s politics: Communism, Anti-Communism and the New Left
Lessing and the theory of the novel: realism and/or experimentalism in Lessing’s work
Lessing as short story writer / poet / playwright
Science fiction
Sufism / religion
Lessing and Africa: from the colonial to the postcolonial
Archives: Lessing’s papers, her interest in archives
Reception and readership
Lessing in translation (the BCLT at UEA has an extensive archive of translations: contact the conference organisers if you would like to consult this)
Teaching Lessing
Lessing’s influence

Please send proposals for 20 minute papers, panels, roundtables, and creative contributions to lessing100@uea.ac.uk before 30th April 2019

Conference Organisers: Dr. Matthew Taunton (UEA) and Dr. Nonia Williams (UEA)

Contact: lessing100@uea.ac.uk


Doris Lessing Society CFPs for MLA 2020

The Doris Lessing Society’s calls for papers for MLA 2020 in Seattle (deadline 17 March 2019):

Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles in the Work of Doris Lessing
Lessing’s portrayals and thematizations of the displacement or movement of peoples: during and after colonialism and the nation-state; in connection with political and environmental crisis; from transnational or planetary perspectives. 300-word abstract, brief bio.

The Question of the Human in Doris Lessing
Humanity as considered in the work of Doris Lessing: as a value, a species, a problem. 300-word abstract; brief bio.

Follow links above for submission details.

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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.

 

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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)

 


Phyllis Perrakis: a memorial tribute

The Doris Lessing research community was saddened to learn this week that Phyllis Perrakis, former president of the Society and, until recently, co-editor of our journal, Doris Lessing Studies, has died, after an illness.

Earlier this year, former president Debrah Raschke began editing a collection of commentaries and reminiscences by members upon the occasion of Perrakis’s retirement, and we publish that collection here now as a memorial to her life and work. Below is the text of Raschke’s introduction; it is included along with members’ tributes in this document: Tribute to Phyllis3-14-2018. — Cornelius Collins

A Tribute to Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis

It was during my snowy stay in New York at MLA’s 2018 Convention that I learned Phyllis Perrakis would be stepping down as co-editor of Doris Lessing Studies. As a few Lessing Society members gathered at a local restaurant for the annual business meeting, all present were keenly aware of the impact she has had on the Doris Lessing Society. For those who have not had the opportunity to know her well, her energy, vision, and determination have shaped the Doris Lessing Society as well as Lessing scholarship. She was vice-president of the Society from 1994 to 1995, president from 1995 to 2002, was one of the co-organizers of the First International Doris Lessing Conference in New Orleans in 2004, and has served as co-editor of Doris Lessing Studies for many years.
Without a doubt, Perrakis has deepened Lessing scholarship. Her first two edited collections, Spiritual Explorations in the Works of Doris Lessing (Greenwood, 1999) and Adventures of the Spirit: The Older Woman in the Works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, and Other Contemporary Women Writers (Ohio State University Press, 2007), reflect a breadth of vision as well as her own life-long interest in the intersections between writing and spiritual understanding—“a wavelength,” in Lessing’s words, that encourages connections instead of egotism.[1] Traversing the writings of Carl Jung, Levinas, Sufism, Greek mythology, and Baha’i, Perrakis sees in Lessing’s work glimpses that enhance our ability to connect with others, even those who are very different from us.  As Perrakis writes in “Sufism, Jung, and the Myth of Kore,” Al۰Ith in Lessing’s TheMarriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five is transformed by Ben Ata’s vision and he by hers. This emphasis on connection not only infuses her work, but also characterizes her relationships with others—a sentiment reflected in so many of the following comments honoring her. In the ego-ridden arena that frequently characterizes particularly the current American political scene, Perrakis has much to teach us through her work on Lessing and much to teach us about our world. I had the privilege of working with Phyllis and with Sandra Singer on the third edited collection, Doris Lessing: Interrogating the Times (Ohio State UP, 2010). Her insights and her editorial work on this collection were invaluable.
This last December before the MLA Convention, my thoughts gravitated toward Phyllis. It was Phyllis who corralled me into the Doris Lessing Society business meeting at the 1996 MLA and who then encouraged me to become involved in the Society. In part because of Phyllis, MLA—in all of its freneticism—remains a place where I look forward to seeing colleagues and friends. Further, it was Phyllis who inspired me to become a co-organizer of the First International Doris Lessing Conference in New Orleans. I still remember the conclusion of that conference—on a riverboat on the Mississippi with a full moon on the horizon. The energy was sheer joy. This last December, with the 2018 MLA in the offing, I was thinking how different my career would have been without Phyllis as mentor and as a friend.  I was deeply saddened to learn at MLA that Phyllis was gravely ill. My first impulse was to write her a letter conveying how much she has influenced my career and how meaningful my interactions with her have been—both as a scholar and as a friend. It then occurred to me, though, that there are probably many others who feel as I do, so I asked Cornelius Collins, our current Doris Lessing Society President, to place a call to others who might also wish to extend their thoughts to Phyllis. And indeed, there has been an outpouring of wonderful reflections. In reading these, I was struck by how many spoke of Phyllis’s ability to bring us together. Perhaps it is not so odd then that voices I have not heard in years have come together once again in this tribute.
These then are the many tributes to you, Phyllis—to your scholarship, to your editorial insights, and to your generosity and kindness.

Debrah Raschke
March 2018

[1] Quoting Lessing’s discussion of a spiritual “wavelength” in Walking the Shade, Perrakis beautifully traces this phenomenon in Love, Again in her collection Spiritual Exploration in the Works of Doris Lessing.

 


CFPs for MLA 2019

The Doris Lessing Society’s calls for papers for the 2019 MLA Convention in Chicago are now posted! We are looking for contributors to two sessions.

The first is “Celebrating Doris Lessing’s Centennial” — our first recognition of the upcoming year as the 100th anniversary of Lessing’s birth! Submission deadline and contact details are here.

The second is “Doris Lessing and Other Writers: Doris’s Daughters,” where we hope to evaluate Lessing’s impact on literature since 1950 by considering her relation to those writers she promoted, overtly influenced, or otherwise assisted, such as Margaret Drabble, Jenny Diski, Anna Kavan, Brian Aldiss, Clancy Sigal, Idries Shah, and others. Submission deadline and contact details are here.

Looking forward to your proposals — feel free to contact the Society with any questions.


the Doris Lessing Society at the 2018 MLA Convention

Full details for the Doris Lessing Society’s panel session and annual general meeting at the 2018 MLA Convention in New York City are now posted on this site’s current MLA page. We hope you will join us for either or both events!


Doris Lessing Studies — new issue

Just published: the new issue of the Society’s academic journal, Doris Lessing Studies! This year’s issue is volume 35.

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. Here is a link to our online archive, where this and other recent issues can be downloaded, and here is the page to become a member and receive access.

The table of contents:

  • Letter from the President, Cornelius Collins
  • My Life with Doris Lessing Studies, Phyllis Perrakis
  • Letter from the Co-Editors, Robin Visel
  • Review: Doris Lessing and the Forming of History, Lara Choksey
  • “‘Class’ Is not a South African Word’: Parallel Development and “The Place of Black Labor,” Peter Ribic
  • African, Communist: Situating Doris Lessing’s “African Dances,” James Arnett
  • Prisons We Choose to Live Inside: Doris Lessing Speaks Truth to Power, Eleonora Rao
  • “Power to Disturb”: Exploring Iterations of Queerness in Selected Works of Doris Lessing, Stephanie Settle
  • Teaching Lessing Primarily to Graduate Students, Sandra Singer
  • List of Society Officers

Clancy Sigal, 1926-2017

Last month saw the death of the American author and essayist Clancy Sigal, who was a major figure in Doris Lessing’s life during the late 1950s and early ’60s. Sigal’s novels include Zone of the Interior (1976) and The Secret Defector (1992), and his nonfiction works include Going Away (1961) and Black Sunset, published just last year.

Sigal and Lessing’s intense relationship had a complex influence on several of their writings, including The Golden Notebook — as has recently been explored by Roberta Rubenstein in her book Literary Half-Lives: Doris Lessing, Clancy Sigal, and Roman à Clef. The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas also has a page about the pair.

Sigal was a prolific essayist in the literary and political press. Links to some obituaries and remembrances follow. Feel free to cite further write-ups in the comments, or contact us with a link.

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Clancy Sigal with Doris Lessing

Counterpunch

The Guardian

New York Times

Los Angeles Times

 


2016 graduate student essay contest results

The winner of the 2016 Doris Lessing Society graduate student essay contest has been announced! See this page for the news.


Doris Lessing Studies: call for papers, 2017

With 2016’s issue online, the editors of Doris Lessing Studies are now soliciting articles for the next issue. This year’s edition is a general call — any area of Lessing’s work is of interest. The editors look forward to fielding your submissions by May 15.
Call for Papers, Doris Lessing Studies 2017: Open Topic
Our refereed journal, published yearly online, invites submissions on any aspect 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 editors: Phyllis Perrakis (phyllis.perrakis@gmail.com) or 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: May 15, 2017

calls for papers, MLA 2018

Now posted: the Doris Lessing Society’s calls for papers for the 2018 MLA Annual Convention in New York City!

The topic of the Society’s guaranteed session is “Alternative Domesticities in the Works of Doris Lessing.” Following Jenny 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. Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.

The topic of the special session the Society will propose is “Doris Lessing and Planetary Insecurity.” We seek accounts of Lessing’s early and long engagement with the present, global state of crisis and of her insistence on the role of literature, particularly fiction, in apprehending it. The MLA President’s theme for next year’s convention is “#States of Insecurity”: where mankind’s history of “events as varied as war, plague, famine, conquest, and enslavement” have led to today’s climate of “political volatility, fluctuating financial markets, fear-mongering media, and increasingly hateful acts and rhetoric that contribute to a general sense of malaise.” In what ways does Lessing’s prophetic and pioneering work offer a space for “critical and historical reflection, inquiry, and intervention” on these dire and urgent conditions? Deadline and contact details can be viewed here.


the 2016 issue of Doris Lessing Studies

The new issue of the Society’s academic journal, Doris Lessing Studies, is now available! This year we welcome volume 34 to the collection.

As with last year, 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. Here is a link to our online archive, where the issue can be downloaded, and here is the page to become a member.

The table of contents for this year’s issue:

  • Letter from the President, Cornelius Collins
  • Letter from the Co-Editors, Mark Pedretti and Robin Visel
  • After Aldermaston: Doris Lessing and the Problem of Revolution in the Nuclear Age, Mark Pedretti
  • Reading Forward: The Fractal Texts of Doris Lessing and David Mitchell, Robin Visel
  • Comparative Empires: Diaspora and Hybridity in Children of Violence and Canopus in Argos: Archives, Linda Weinhouse
  • Ageism and Gender Performativity in The Summer Before the Dark, Sima Aghazadeh
  • Becoming Jane Somers: Constructing Authorship, Genre, and Age in The Diary of a Good Neighbour, Kortney Stern
  • She Wrote Past Us: Early Readings of Doris Lessing, Linda Chown
  • Review: “So much depends . . . upon distance”: Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook After Fifty, Debrah Raschke
  • List of Society Officers

new edited collection: Doris Lessing and the Forming of History

Today marks the appearance of an exciting new collection of essays on Doris Lessing: Doris Lessing and the Forming of History, published by Edinburgh University Press. The volume, which had its genesis at the successful 2014 Doris Lessing conference in Plymouth, England, was edited by Kevin Brazil, David Sergeant, and Tom Sperlinger, and it features contributions from several Society members. The collection offers the first comprehensive, retrospective view of Lessing’s writings across her career, focusing specially on the innovations in literary form she made in response to the historical changes she lived to witness. This book will be a pivotal reference for Lessing scholars over the coming decade. More information at the publisher’s web site, here.

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The breadth and freshness of these essays, introduced by the co-editors’ fine overview of Doris Lessing’s expressions of historical change through literary forms, reinforces the author’s undiminished appeal to contemporary scholars and readers. Exploring formal elements of Lessing’s work—characterization, humour, readership, and film and dream analogues—along with politics and history, human evolution, climate change, and time travel, these essays are timely, ambitious, and intellectually engaging.
– Roberta Rubenstein, American University


new site resource: short Lessing biography

There’s a new page on the site, under the Resources tab: a short but substantial biography of Doris Lessing, written by Society member Linda E. Chown. This biographical essay focuses on the phases of the author’s life from her birth in 1919 to the early 1980s. Chown’s text is not just factual, but also richly sourced with extensive quotations from published Lessing interviews, some of them now rare. Therefore it should be a valuable resource to students and scholars as a serious introductory biography. For insight into the later years, we are all now awaiting the publication of the authorized biography, now being written!


Jenny Diski’s memoirs of life with Doris Lessing

The current issue of the New York Review of Books features a lengthy review, by Hermione Lee, of Jenny Diski’s memoir, In Gratitude, which was published earlier in 2016. Diski died of cancer this spring, just days after the book saw publication in the UK.

96548932-xlarge_transqvzuuqpflyliwib6ntmjwfsvwez_ven7c6bhu2jjnt8Much of the memoir focuses on Diski’s complex relationship with Doris Lessing. After breaking with her parents, Diski lived several years in Lessing’s care, in the author’s London home during the 1960s. Diski went on to a successful writing career from the 1980s forward. On receiving her cancer diagnosis in 2014, Diski began in the London Review of Books a series of essays that in large part explored her memories of Lessing. Published as In Gratitude, the collection is the most substantial literary reflection on Doris Lessing to appear since her death in 2013.

 

For those interested in the reception of Diski’s book — particularly its perspective on Lessing — below are links to a range of notices and reviews, in reverse chronological order. Feel free to submit reviews you think should be listed here by contacting us.

Hermione Lee, “The Triumph of Jenny Diski,” New York Review of Books

Andrea DenHoed, “Jenny Diski’s Way of Seeing Beyond the Story,” New Yorker

Heidi Julavitis, “Jenny Diski’s In Gratitude,” New York Times

Martin Rubin, “Book Review: In Gratitude,” Washington Times

Anne Enright, “Writing against the clock,” Irish Times

Hester Abrams, “Review: In Gratitude,” Jewish Chronicle Online

Marion McLeod, “Book of the Week,” The Spinoff (New Zealand)

Jane Shilling, “Life with Doris: the lesser of two evils,” Daily Mail

Tim Adams, “On death … and Doris,” The Guardian

Writer Jenny Diski dies aged 68, BBC News

Jenny Diski interview by Lynn Barber, The Sunday Times (subscription required)


the Doris Lessing collection at the Harare City Library

post today on the London Review of Books blog discusses the Doris Lessing Special Collection at the Harare City Library in Harare, Zimbabwe. Lessing donated over 3,000 books from her personal collection to the library on her death in 2013. The collection opened to the public 3 months ago, as reported here.

Lessing reflected on her early education and spoke about the importance of access to literature, especially in postcolonial societies, in her 2007 Nobel lecture.


call for papers: Doris Lessing Studies, 2016

The editors of Doris Lessing Studies have issued their annual call for papers! This year’s edition will be a special, themed issue. Theme description and contact info below:

“Looking Backward, Looking Forward: Comparative Readings of Doris Lessing’s Historical and Speculative Fiction”

Building upon the Doris Lessing Society’s panel at MLA 2016, this special issue of Doris Lessing Studies seeks article submissions comparing Lessing’s historical-realist-autobiographical fiction to her speculative novels or stories. These two periods in Lessing’s career are often considered by critics as separate areas or phases, but we are interested in exploring ways to bridge that divide. We are interested in attempts to find continuities in Lessing’s career, to theorize the transition from one period to the other, or to articulate non-linear models for understanding her aesthetic trajectory in its long duration.

Submissions should be 12-18 double-spaced (12 point type) pages long, following MLA style. Endnotes must be indicated by superscript numbers manually added within the text and typed in at the end of the article. Submissions should be sent to co-editors Robin Visel and Mark Pedretti (email both rvisel@gmail.com and mark.pedretti@gmail.com with subject “DLS2016 Article Submission”) by May 15, 2016.