Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing dies; wrote 'The Golden Notebook'

Doris Lessing, seen here in 2007, died Sunday at 94, her publisher said.

Story highlights

  • HarperCollins UK CEO says Lessing had "a fierce intellect and a warm heart"
  • Lessing "passed away peacefully" at her London home, publisher says
  • "I was born to write," Lessing said
  • Lessing won the Nobel prize in literature at the age of 88
Author Doris Lessing, who won a Nobel Prize for her life of literature, died Sunday at age 94, her publisher, HarperCollins, said.
The British author was best known for "The Golden Notebook," which is considered by many critics to be one of the most important feminist novels ever written.
Lessing "passed away peacefully" at her London home early Sunday, according to HarperCollins spokeswoman Susanna Frayn.
Lessing began writing at 7, which she said was not the result of inspiration, but her innate capacity.
"I was born to write, as other people are born to paint ... that's all," she said. "Writers tell stories. This is what we do."
Lessing was awarded the Nobel prize in literature in 2007 at the age of 88. The Swedish academy called her "the epicist of the female experience" who had "subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny."
"She is survived by her daughter Jean and granddaughters Anna and Susannah," the publisher said. "Her family has asked for privacy at this time."
Lessing was born to British parents in Persia (now Iran). Much of her fiction was based on her experiences growing up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where she moved as a young child.
Her mother raised her on storytelling, reading stories that Lessing gave her own spin when sharing them with her younger brother. These childhood stories evolved into the powerful fiction that made up her 50 books.
Lessing, who dropped out of a school in the Rhodesian capital, Salisbury, when she was just 13, developed her writing skills by reading the works of Dickens, Tolstoy, D.H. Lawrence and Dostoevsky.