Doris Lessing 100: The Writer's Quest

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of East Anglia, UK
contact email: 

Doris Lessing 100: The Writer's Quest, 12th-14th September 2019.The School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia is hosting an international conference to mark the centenary of Lessing's birth.

Doris Lessing is one of the most widely-read and culturally important writers of the twentieth century, yet her academic reputation does not reflect this fact. On the occasion of her centenary, this conference proposes a new critical exploration of the life and work of a complex and multifaceted writer, presenting an opportunity to rethink her contribution to modern literature. It also seeks to establish Lessing as a central figure in twentieth-century literature who traverses a range of forms, styles, periodising categories, genres, political orientations, and readerships.

The conference will take place at the University of East Anglia, an institution that Lessing had a strong connection with, and to which she donated her extensive personal papers on her death. The event will coincide with an exhibition dedicated to Lessing's life and work in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at UEA, which will see letters, manuscripts and personal effects on public display for the first time. Please see http://dorislessing100.org for more information.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Patrick French (Lessing’s official biographer) in conversation with Professor Christopher Bigsby (University of East Anglia)

Dr. Nick Hubble (Brunel University)

Professor Roberta Rubenstein (American University, Washington).

Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Lessing’s relationship to questions of gender, feminism and women’s liberation
  • Lessing's politics: Communism, Anti-Communism and the New Left
  • Lessing and the theory of the novel: realism and/or experimentalism in Lessing’s work
  • Lessing as short story writer / poet / playwright
  • Science fiction
  • Sufism / religion
  • Lessing and Africa: from the colonial to the postcolonial
  • Archives: Lessing's papers, her interest in archives
  • Reception and readership
  • Lessing in translation (the BCLT at UEA has an extensive archive of translations: contact the conference organisers if you would like to consult this)
  • Teaching Lessing
  • Lessing’s influence

Please send proposals for 20 minute papers, panels, roundtables, and creative contributions to lessing100@uea.ac.uk before 30th April 2019 

Conference Organisers

Dr. Matthew Taunton (UEA) and Dr. Nonia Williams (UEA).  Contact: lessing100@uea.ac.uk