At the age of 30, she began writing for a profession, although her debut novel The Grass is Singing was not published until 1950. She made her breakthrough with The Golden Notebook in 1962.
Born in 1919, Doris Lessing's best-known works include The Golden Notebook, Memoirs of a Survivor and The Summer Before the Dark.
The Swedish Academy said the Golden Notebook was seen as "a pioneering work" that "belongs to the handful of books that informed the 20th Century view of the male-female relationship". On winning the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy described Lessing as an "epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny".
She became the oldest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature when in 2007 she won the award for her life's work aged 88.
The figures add up to fifty years of writing, in itself, a remarkable feat. I made a late start so I'll never achieve a similar target. Nor will I reach such heights of acclaim. My first book, Still Rock Water, on the sidebar at the right, begins with the relationship between a domineering man and woman who wants to please, who believes that everything she does will influence someone for the better and that a vow should never be broken. Yet, fete separates her from all she holds dear.
Gone are the days when someone could be described like Doris Lessing as 'an uninhibited and outspoken novelist who shattered convention, embarking on dizzying and at times stultifying literary talent.' Rest in peace, sister in spirit.