Doris Lessing Knows the Meaning of Life But is Just Witholding It

Sheila · 10/20/08 02:54PM

Famously cranky Golden Notebook author Doris Lessing is 89 and frankly doesn't give a rat's that she won last year's Nobel Prize for Literature. She likes to talk about how she's burned out on writing and loves to complain—and is therefore our favorite Old. This Sunday, Lessing wrote an essay about her typical day for the Times of London: "When I’m not talking, I read." And everyone, irritatingly, thinks she knows the meaning of life:

Nobel-Winning Doris Lessing Says What She Wants and is Usually Right

Sheila · 07/11/08 10:16AM

Author and recent Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing is famously cranky and outspoken. She says what she wants! (She doesn't give a damn about the Nobel or any other prize. See?) She's 88 and, as Time explains in their interview with her, she "refuses to play the role of Britain's elder literary stateswoman." Example: "I hear girls saying, 'Oh I'm not going to bring a child into this wicked world,' which means they are going to be pregnant next week."

Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing's Advice to Young Writers: "Don't Assume You'll Have It Forever"

Sheila · 05/12/08 02:01PM

Outspoken novelist Doris Lessing, 88, never cared much about winning the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature: "Oh Christ, I couldn't care less," she said at the time. Now, she adds in a radio interview, winning the prestigious award has totally messed up her life and creative energy: "It has stopped; I don't have any energy anymore. This is why I keep telling anyone younger than me, don't imagine you'll have it forever. Use it while you've got it, because it'll go; it's sliding away like water down a plug hole." [NYT] Oh, shit.

Nobel Laureate Feels Sorry for All the Pretty Young Authors

Sheila · 01/24/08 03:34PM

Author and Nobel laureate Doris Lessing thinks the current marketing climate for young authors is damaging—in fact, she feels "desperately sorry" for them. "Now what happens is that if you are a girl who's good-looking and has written even a passable book you can be earning enormous sums of money very quickly and are then sent on a promotional tour... there are people who can't write a second book because they are always on the telephone or having to do some TV thing." (It must be said: back in the day, Doris was a total babe!) To paraphrase Diane Keaton: if a young lady is good-looking, she won't have to spend as much time working on her "fucking personality!" Or her book. [Times of London]

Emily Gould · 10/23/07 08:50AM

9/11 wasn't so bad, according to newly Nobel-anointed novelist Doris Lessing. "Some Americans will think I'm crazy. Many people died, two prominent buildings fell, but it was neither as terrible nor as extraordinary as they think. They're a very naive people, or they pretend to be," she told Spanish daily El Pais. Also: "I always hated Tony Blair," and "I hate Iran, I hate the Iranian government, it's a cruel and evil government. Look what happened to its president in New York, they called him evil and cruel in Columbia University. Marvelous! They should have said more to him! Nobody criticizes him, because of oil." We want to be like this as an old lady: just walking around talking shit and whapping people with our cane. But between this and the Jessica Seinfeld plagiarism scandal, the HarperCollins publicity department is having kind of a bad week.