Doris Lessing was on the headlines earlier this year for saying, at the Hay Book Festival, such interesting things as (and they sound as if I am hearing myself...):
- "I have not noticed that women, when they get to be prime ministers are particularly peaceful. (…) On the contrary, some of the worst crimes have been committed by women. (…) We like to think we are motherly and kind and that we are not going to go to war, but it's not true, is it?"
- “What use are men? (…) An haphazard species who always have to be looked after and die much too easy."
- "There's something abrasive in me because I have often made people very cross. (…) But as a writer it is important not to care what other people think and the profession must honour that. (…) We are free... I can say what I think. We are lucky, privileged, so why not make use of it?"
Yesterday and today Lessing came back to the headlines as the 2007 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I was particularly drawn to her writing by her novel ‘The Grass is Singing’ about the relationship between the wife of a white farmer with a black servant in colonial Zimbabwe, where she lived her earlier life. The Nobel Academy described Lessing as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny".
Former US Vice-President, Al Gore, was on the headlines earlier this week as the subject of an “inconvenient judgment” by a British High Court judge who branded his Oscar and Emmy award-winning film on climate change, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, something like “not fit for purpose” as didactic material to be used in this country's schools.
The judge stated that the film contains "nine scientific errors, some of which arisen in the context of alarmism and exaggeration” and determined that it must be accompanied by new guidance notes and appropriate scientific caveats to balance what he termed Gore’s “one-sided views”, before it can be shown in UK Schools.
Today Gore came back again to the headlines for sharing this year's Nobel Peace Prize with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the Nobel judges, “his strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change.”
Gore follows Wangari Maathai (winner in 2004) as the second environmental campaigner to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which is usually reserved for those who bravely oppose war and conflict.
(I can't wait to hear about the Nobel for Economics on Monday...)
*First published 12/10/07