Doris Lessing Too Ill to Deliver Nobel Acceptance Speech

Posted on December 4, 2007

Doris Lessing is too ill to fly to Stockholm to give her speech accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, but she has written the speech. Her publisher will read it at the ceremony.

The foundation, which had said Lessing would be unable to attend the prize ceremony because of ill health, said on Monday Nicholas Pearson would read out Lessing's address on December 7. "She has back problems," foundation spokeswoman Annika Pontikis said.

The lectures by each winner are a highlight of Nobel Week celebrations, which include ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo to award the 10 million Swedish crown ($1.57 million) prize. Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek, who won the literature prize in 2004, and British playwright Harold Pinter, the 2005 winner, also missed the ceremony but both pre-recorded their traditional lectures for airing during Nobel week.

Given Doris' penchant for outspoken thought, we hope that her publisher has an excellent speaking voice and a good sense of irony. It's really a shame that she can't be there to accept the award in person. Science fiction writers are thrilled that one of their own won a Nobel Prize and will no doubt be interested to hear what hear her acceptance speech.

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