m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Before Popping Off

The Times Online has more about Doris Lessing’s belated Nobel prize:

The Cleft received mixed reviews, reflecting the division of Lessing’s readers between those who love her straight novels and those who prefer her science fiction. The latter was said to be responsible for her early removal from the Nobel prize’s unofficial list, even though she regards her Canopus in Argos series of SF books as her finest work. In the 1960s, she recalled last week, “they sent one of their minions especially to tell me they didn’t like me at the Nobel prize and I would never get it”.

So why do they like her now, better than they did then? “They can’t give a Nobel to someone who’s dead so I think they were probably thinking they had better give it to me now before I popped off.”

The Swedish Academy described Lessing as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. On hearing this, the author perked up: “Oh good, did they say that about me?”