Lessing as You've Never Seen Her Before
From Sep 13 2019 - 9 Feb 2020, UEA's Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts hosted an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of Doris Lessing. The Doris Lessing 100 exhibition showcasing 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, 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 provided never-before-seen insights into the inspirations and preoccupations that informed her work.
The Doris Lessing 100 exhibition introduced visitors to unfamiliar facets of a celebrated literary icon. It explored Lessing’s time as a Communist activist in Africa and includes exclusive access to the surveillance file that MI5 kept on her while she lived in London. It explored her later disavowal of Communism after witnessing conflicts in Hungary and Afghanistan, then examined her fascination with Sufi mysticism, the horrors and the promise of modern technology, and her later experimentations in science fiction.
This was Doris Lessing as you’ve never seen her before.