Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing: A BBC Radio Collection
  • Doris Lessing: A BBC Radio Collection

    • Doris Lessing

    • Alison Pettitt (Read by)

    • Barbara Marten (Read by)

    • Estelle Kohler (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Jack Klaff (Read by)

    • Olivia Vinall (Read by)

    • Susannah Harker (Read by)

    • Tracy-Ann Oberman (Read by)

    Dramatisations and readings of novels and short stories by Nobel laureate Doris Lessing – plus a bonus documentary, Open Book, examining her life and career
    One of the most celebrated and important authors of the 20th Century, Doris Lessing was awarded a Nobel Prize for the ‘visionary power’ of her fiction, which spans a variety of genres and explores themes such as racism, feminism and social and political upheaval. This collection includes the radio productions of three of her acclaimed novels and four short stories, as well as a fascinating discussion of her life and work.

    The Good TerroristOlivia Vinall stars in this adaptation of Doris Lessing’s satire of incompetent revolutionaries in a London squat.

    Lucy Grange – Exiled from the sophistication of her homeland, stylish Lucy seeks solace and comfort, and learns 'to accept the second-rate'. Read by Estelle Kohler.

    The Grass is Singing – In this powerful exploration of racial politics in 1940s Rhodesia, adapted from Doris Lessing’s first novel, a white woman’s troubled relationship with her black houseboy comes to a violent end. Starring Alison Pettit and Tracy-Ann Oberman.

    Flight – A laughing, teasing granddaughter and a dovecote full of strutting birds are an old man's only escape from his cold family home. Read by Jack Klaff.

    The Golden NotebookSusannah Harker stars in this dramatisation of Doris Lessing’s ground-breaking novel about marriage, motherhood, mental breakdown and communism.

    The Death of a Chair – A lived-in chair is bought at auction, where it begins its final journey towards discovery and destruction. Read by Barbara Marten.


    Open Book: Doris Lessing
    Mariella Frostrup talks to Doris Lessing about her long and extraordinarily varied writing career.

Doris Lessing was born of British parents in Persia in 1919 and taken to South Africa at the age of five. She spent the rest of her childhood on a large farm in Southern Rhodesia. At the age of eighteen, she became a telephone operator in Salisbury where she had, she says, 'the kind of compulsive good time described in Martha Quest'. In 1949 she came to London bringing with her the manuscript of her first novel, The Grass is Singing. Published the following year, the book was an outstanding success in Britain, in America and in ten European countires. Her subsequent novels have inlcuded the five-volume Children of Violence series (1952-69) and The Golden Notebook (1962). Reviewing this last book, the Sunday Times called Doris Lessing 'not only the best woman novelist we have but one of the most serious, intelligent and honest writers of the whole post-war generation'. She is also the author of such short story collections as The Habit of Loving (1957) and of non-fiction books ranging from Going Home (1957) to Particularly Cats (1967). The Observer wrote of her: 'There can't, I suppose, be anyone left who reads modern fiction at all and isn't aware of the importance of Doris Lessing's work, with its strenth, its sobriety, its fine integrity.'


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