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Doris Lessing, pictured here in 2006, once refused to allow the queen to declare her a dame of the British Empire, because -- as the author put it -- "There is no British Empire." (AP)

Fresh Air Remembers 'Golden Notebook' Author Doris Lessing

Nov 18, 2013 (Fresh Air)

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Novelist and essayist Doris Lessing died Sunday at the age of 94.

Lessing won the Nobel Prize in 2007. She lived in England most of her life, but she grew up in southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Lessing often addressed racism and colonialism in her writing, including in a series of novels about a fictional character named Martha Quest. She was best known for her 1962 book, The Golden Notebook, which was regarded as among the most important feminist novels of its time.

Lessing's obituary in The New York Times describes The Golden Notebook as "daring in its day for its frank exploration of the inner lives of women who, unencumbered by marriage, were free to raise children, or not, and pursue work and their sex lives as they chose."

Fresh Air's Terry Gross interviewed Lessing in 1988 and 1992.

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