Born: 22 October 1919, Kermanshah, Persia (now Iran)
Died: 17 November 2013, London, United Kingdom
Residence at the time of the award: United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"
Prize share: 1/1
Doris Lessing was brought up in southern Rhodesia. She left school at fourteen, married when she was twenty and had two children, divorced, married a communist, had a son and divorced. In 1949 she moved to London with her youngest, and established herself as a writer. Her first novel, 'The Grass is Singing' (1950), is a study of unbridgeable racial conflicts. Doris Lessing wrote over fifty books, including novels, short stories, plays and non-fiction, often with strong ethical focus and engagement with society. And as few others have done, she has personified the woman's role in the 20th century.