Friday, 12 October 2007

Grumpy old writers

TV Reporter to Doris Lessing getting out of black cab with some difficulty (she’s 88, after all): ‘Have you heard the news?’
Doris, looking and sounding gruff, ‘No!’
TV Reporter: ‘You’ve won the Nobel Prize for Literature!’
Doris, looking p*ssed off: ‘Christ! It’s been going on for 30 years....’

...and she walked away.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4, she said the Nobel Prize panel didn’t like her 40 years ago and told her so, and she couldn’t see why they would like her better now. She more or less said, ‘High b***** time they gave it to me!’

Later, she did say she was very pleased and reminded everyone she’d won all the other literary prizes available in Europe.

She has a right to be cantankerous; she’s earned it with brilliant books. Not all older female writers should be allowed to be rude to strangers, though. There is one out there (who shall remain nameless) who is just as grouchy as Doris, with one big difference: she doesn’t run the risk of ever winning the Nobel Prize.

I’m slapping her.


  1. LOL. I don't know who you are slapping, but I enjoyed the post a lot. I do love a grumpy old woman.

  2. I just LOVED the video of Lessing getting out of the car -- good for her! Did they expect her to get weepy and sentimental???

  3. I like someone who knows their own value. Modesty is nice, but confidence is even better.

    Good post!

  4. Come here, B. Whisper in my ear who the old bat is. I won't tell anyone. xoxo

  5. It's gotta be whatserface hasn't it?

  6. Oh Bela, thank you for making me aware of this brilliant and hilarious blog. It's exactly what I need, and it's so refreshing to see that I'm in good company when it takes all my restraint not to stab nearby people and objects (most usually the computer monitor) with a pencil. Nice is overrated. You are not. Merci bien!

  7. This post made me smile. Thank you. She probably has earned the right not to get all sugary and sentimental. She's 88 and has been passed over for years. I'm glad that she was finally recognized, but also glad that she didn't kiss their fannies. Good for her!

  8. TLP, I don’t want to mention that writer’s name because mostly I don’t wish to give her, what do they call it, ‘the oxygen of publicity’: she’s quite adept at doing that herself.

    If you can’t be grumpy when you’re old , when , then?

    NST, wasn’t it hilarious? She’s a tough cookie, Doris. I’ve seen her a couple of times in theatre audiences (not recently). I wish I’d plucked up the courage to say a few words to her, although I’m not sure what sort of reception I would have got if I had.

    Thanks, H. I like confident people too. To paraphrase SS, modesty is overrated. I think most people know their own strengths and failings.

    M, you know I can’t do that. ;-)

    Yes, SS, it is whatserface; you’re absolutely correct.

    H, I swear I didn’t visit your blog b/c I wanted you to come and see mine: I loved that post of yours. Thanks for visiting me, anyway.

    C, she wasn’t sweet when she was younger; no reason to become so in later life. Also, it must have been so annoying for her to be constantly told she should be getting it.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.