Doris Lessing Talks Life After the Nobel Prize

Posted on July 4, 2008

Nobel Prize winning author Doris Lessing is just as feisty as ever. She talked to Time magazine about winning the Nobel Prize, writing and dictator Robert Mugabe.

When reporters informed you that you had won the Nobel Prize last October, your first words were "Oh, Christ." Were you at all excited?

No, I wasn't. If I may be catty, Sweden doesn't have anything else. There's not a great literary tradition, so they make the most of the Nobel.

The Nobel committee described you as the "epicist of the female experience." Do you agree with that?

Well, they had to say something....I can just see somebody sitting there thinking, 'What the hell are we going to say about this one? She doesn't like being called a feminist so what'll we say?' So they scribbled that."


You were a prohibited alien in South Africa and Rhodesia for 30 years for speaking out against apartheid and white rule. What do you think of Robert Mugabe?

He's a monstrous little terror. Mbeki from South Africa supports him and a lot of the other black leaders have only just decided that he's bad. They don't like to criticize one of their own. Mugabe has created a caste, a layer of people just like himself who are corrupt and crooked. It's not a question of just getting rid of Mugabe and everything will be alright because it won't be.

Unfortunately she also says that she just doesn't have the energy to write much anymore and her upcoming book, Alfred and Emily, will probably be her last. Alfred and Emily details Doris' childhood in Southern Rhodesia. It also examines the devastating effects of World War I on her family.

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