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Celebrating an Extraordinary Life


UEA's celebration of Doris Lessing's centenary was a collaboration between the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) and the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC). 

Other partners included: Doris Lessing Literary Trustees (Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors and Ann Evans, Jonathan Clowes Ltd).

We are also working in association with Doris Lessing's authorised biographer, Patrick French


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The Doris Lessing 100 academic conference was organised by Dr. Matthew Taunton and Dr. Nonia Williams, of the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. /

The exhibition and events programme was curated and project managed by the BACW Archivist, Justine Mann with curatorial input from academic colleagues in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. 

Updates on the programme were also posted on Twitter.



Justine Mann

Justine Mann is Archivist for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) and Project Manager and Curator of the Doris Lessing 100 exhibition and wider programme.

She has worked within high profile libraries and archives over a thirty year career. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from the University of East Anglia. Justine worked closely with Paul Cooper, Matt Taunton, Nonia Williams and Monserrat Pis Marcos to develop the Doris Lessing 100 exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre. She is the key contact for information on this aspect of the celebrations.




Matthew Taunton

Matthew Taunton is a Senior Lecturer in Literature at UEA. His research focuses on twentieth-century literature and politics, and his recent books are A History of 1930s British Literature (Cambridge UP, 2019) co-edited with Benjamin Kohlmann, and Red Britain: Writing the Russian Revolution in Mid-Century Culture (Oxford UP, 2019).

He has taught Lessing’s work for over a decade and has recently completed an article about her engagement with Communism, drawing on archival materials at UEA and Sussex. Matt is deputy editor of Critical Quarterly, and will be co-editing (with Nonia Williams) a forthcoming special issue on Doris Lessing’s work.



Nonia Williams

Nonia Williams is a Lecturer in Literature at UEA. Her research interests include: Twentieth-Century Literature; Modernism; Critical Theory; experimental aesthetics and forms; feminism, gender and sexuality; representations of abject states including old age and madness; issues of archival and recovery research; Ann Quin; Doris Lessing; Muriel Spark.

Recent publications include British Avant-Garde Fiction of the 1960s (EUP, 2019), which seeks to intervene in the resurgence of interest in this literary period. She is currently writing on the textures and textualities of ageing in Doris Lessing, as well as working on her forthcoming monograph on Ann Quin.



Postgraduate Researchers

Paul Cooper

Paul Cooper is an author and journalist from Cardiff, Wales. He was educated at the University of Warwick and UEA, and has previously worked as an archivist for the Russell Hoban archive. His debut novel, River of Ink, was published by Bloomsbury in 2016, and his second is coming in 2020. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic and Discover Magazine.

Paul has worked as a co-curator of the Doris Lessing 100 exhibition from the beginning, and guided the shape and content of the exhibition along with Justine Mann. | @PaulMMCooper



Andrew Kenrick

Andrew Kenrick has worked as an archaeologist and a games designer, a writer and an editor. He is currently studying for a PhD at the University of East Anglia, where he is researching new ways to write biographies of ancient figures. 

He is also the co-founder and editor of Hinterland, a quarterly magazine dedicated to publishing the best new creative non-fiction. Before commencing his postgraduate studies, Andrew worked as a project archivist at British Archive for Contemporary Writing, helping catalogue the Doris Lessing Archive.





Justine Ashford


Justine Ashford holds an MA in Biography and Creative Non-fiction from UEA and is currently working on a Life Writing PhD.  Her subject is the relative nature of both biography and portraiture, with reference to the lives and creative output of five artists’ models of the 1920s. She is delighted to be working on the Doris Lessing 100 Project, particularly as it is a co-operation between the Archive and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Justine was a secondary school teacher of English and Drama for twenty years. She lives in Suffolk with her eight year old son.