Page last updated at 05:02 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 06:02 UK

Lessing: Nobel win a 'disaster'

Doris Lesssing
Lessing was once told the judges did not like her and she would never win

Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing has said winning the prestigious award in 2007 had been a "bloody disaster".

The increased media interest in her has meant that writing a full novel was next to impossible, she told Radio 4's Front Row.

Lessing, 88, also said she would probably now be giving up writing novels altogether.

Her latest book is the partly fictional memoir entitled Alfred and Emily.

Since her Nobel win she has been constantly in demand, she said.

"All I do is give interviews and spend time being photographed."

Speaking about her writing, she said: "It has stopped, I don't have any energy any more.

"This is why I keep telling anyone younger than me, don't imagine you'll have it forever.

"Use it while you've got it because it'll go, it's sliding away like water down a plughole."

Lessing is the 11th woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature in its 106-year history.

Her best known works include The Golden Notebook and The Good Terrorist.

'Long deserved'

"Thank you does not seem enough when you've won the best of them all. It is astonishing and amazing," she said at the time of winning.

She also recalled that, in the 1960s, she had been informed that the Nobel Academy's judges did not like her and she would never win.

Ill-health prevented her from attending the prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

Instead the Swedish Ambassador to London, Staffan Carlsson, presented the award to her in the UK.

He told her she was being "crowned with a prize you have long deserved".

Lessing was born in Iran and moved to Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - as a child before settling in England in 1949.

Her debut novel The Grass is Singing was published the following year. Altogether she has written more than 50 novels, plays, memoirs and collections of short stories.

The Golden Notebook is considered by many to be a feminist classic, though Lessing has distanced herself from the movement.

Doris Lessing's interview will be broadcast on Front Row on 12 May at 1915 BST on BBC Radio 4.

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