The literary executor’s of the late Doris Lessing’s estate are looking to appoint a new biographer of the writer.
Lessing died in November 2013 at the age of 94. During her career she wrote dozens of novels and short story collections, including The Golden Notebook in 1962 and The Good Terrorist in 1985. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007.
In her will, Lessing said that she wanted the biographer Michael Holroyd to undertake the task of writing about her, the Guardian has reported. If Holroyd was unable or unwilling to do the job, another biographer should be appointed.
The biographer will have access to all Lessing’s diaries, as well as other material.
Holroyd, who was George Bernard Shaw’s biographer, told the Guardian: “I was put down as the biographer in about 1993. Doris wrote to me that year to confirm, and I said yes, but I was younger then. I am now in my 80th year, and her archive is absolutely enormous – pretty well as large as Bernard Shaw’s and scattered as widely as his. It would take me the best part of 10 years to research and write her life, and that means I am too old. But I am also a literary executor in her will, and in that role I gave myself the sack as her biographer.”
Lessing also said in her will that the diaries she wrote should be sealed throughout the lives of her children and from writer Jenny Diski, who Lessing took in as a child.
Holroyd said a new biographer would hopefully be chosen this spring.