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Doris Lessing Exhibition


   Lessing as You've Never Seen Her Before

In September 2019 the UEA's Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts will host an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of Doris Lessing. The Doris Lessing 100 exhibition will showcase the treasure trove of archival material that Lessing left to the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) at the University of East Anglia. Her archive includes personal letters, drawings, manuscripts and memorabilia, the largest collection of her personal material in the world.

Lessing’s official biographer Patrick French, who has privileged access to the Archive, and her literary trustees, have agreed to release previously embargoed material for use exclusively in the exhibition. These letters shed new light on Lessing’s life as a writer, and give never-before-seen insights into the inspirations and preoccupations that informed her work.

The Doris Lessing 100 exhibition will introduce visitors to unfamiliar facets of a celebrated literary icon. It will explore Lessing’s time as a Communist activist in Africa and will include exclusive access to the surveillance file that MI5 kept on her while she lived in London. It will explore her later disavowal of Communism after witnessing conflicts in Hungary and Afghanistan, then examine her fascination with Sufi mysticism, the horrors and the promise of modern technology, and her later experimentations in science fiction.

This will be Doris Lessing as you’ve never seen her before.