Tributes paid to Doris Lessing

Tributes paid to Doris Lessing

Publishers and writers have paid tribute to Doris Lessing, who has died at the age of 94.

Nicholas Pearson, her editor at HarperCollins imprint Fourth Estate, said in a statement that Lessing's career has been "a great gift" to the literary world. He said: "She wrote across a variety of genres and made an enormous cultural impact. Probably she’ll be most remembered for The Golden Notebook which became a handbook to a whole generation, but her many books have spoken to us in so many various ways."

He added: "[Lessing] wrote across a variety of genres and made an enormous cultural impact. Even in very old age she was always intellectually restless, reinventing herself, curious about the changing world around us, always completely inspirational. We'll miss her hugely."

HarperCollins UK chief executive Charlie Redmayne said: "Doris Lessing was one of the great writers of our age. She was a compelling storyteller with a fierce intellect and a warm heart who was not afraid to fight for what she believed in. It was an honour for HarperCollins to publish her."

The writer died in the early hours of Sunday morning (17th November). During her career Doris Lessing 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, praised for her "scepticism, fire and visionary power".

In the Guardian, Margaret Atwood said: "If there were a Mount Rushmore of 20th-century authors, Doris Lessing would most certainly be carved upon it. Like Adrienne Rich, she was pivotal, situated at the moment when the gates of the gender disparity castle were giving way, and women were faced with increased freedoms and choices, as well as increased challenges."

She added: "She was a model also for every writer coming from the back of beyond, demonstrating— as she so signally did–that you can be a nobody from nowhere, but, with talent, courage, perseverance through hard times, and a dollop of luck, you can scale the topmost storyheights."

Writing in the Telegraph, Gaby Wood said Lessing's The Golden Notebook "was not only ahead of its time but a blueprint for women in time to come". She added that appreciation of Lessing would only increase in future: "Perhaps her time is still to come."

Helen T Verongos in the New York Times called Lessing "uninhibited and outspoken", as well as "cavalier and curmudgeonly". It was one of several pieces to refer to Lessing's discovery that she had won the Nobel Prize when she came home to find reporters on her doorstep, and commented: "Oh Christ . . .  I’m sure you’d like some uplifting remarks of some kind."