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I Hope To Be This Cool When I’m 87

In 2007, when Doris Lessing was 87, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

She was the 11th woman (and the oldest person) to win the literature prize. If you don’t know Lessing’s story, it’s pretty amazing. She was born in Persia (now Iraq) and raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). She never finished high school and basically taught herself through a passion of reading.

She’s written dozens of novels, including my current read, The Golden Notebook, as well as nonfiction, plays, and two autobiographies. The Swedish Academy that announces the award had this to say about The Golden Notebook, regarded as her premiere work: “The burgeoning feminist movement saw it as a pioneering work, and it belongs to the handful of books that informed the 20th-century view of the male-female relationship.”

A video crew captured Lessing on camera when she was informed that she won the Nobel Prize. Her reaction is priceless and unswayed by the man (maybe her son?) next to her who appears to be fond of carrying around artichokes.

I can only hope to be as cool as this woman when I’m 87 years old. She’s 94 now and, I can only presume, even cooler.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. She’s a Spunky lady! reminds me of my Gran…who turns 87 this April – also a super cool lady 😀


    March 14, 2013
    • I think all old ladies are pretty cool in their own way.


      March 18, 2013
  2. ‘Oh Christ!’ – Best response ever.


    March 14, 2013
  3. This lady is amazing and it clear to see that “her writing” and not the prizes are her main focus. It is so refreshing to see someone untouched by the materialism of the world.


    March 14, 2013
  4. peachyperspectivve #

    Ha! She is a hoot. Clearly she writes not for the praise and recognition.


    March 14, 2013
  5. The man is her invalid son, Peter. Some of this footage is also used as the opening to ‘The Hostess and the Alien’ a fascinating BBC documentary made (as part of the Imagine series) the year she won the Nobel prize. Well worth hunting down if you can find it online. It hasn’t been rebroadcast since its initial showing as far as I’m aware.


    March 15, 2013

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