LESSING, Doris




Author Tags: Famous Visitor

Obviously Doris Lessing was not a B.C. writer, but, as a curiosity, it's worth noting that the Nobel Prize winning author had a son who lived in B.C., (as did Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.).

According to the memoirs of Hon. Anne Rowles, a BC judge who taught at Ocean Falls for a year in the 1960s"

"One of the most interesting people I met while in Ocean Falls was a man whose name was “John Smith”. Some time after we had met, John told me that his mother was Doris Lessing, a British writer. In fact, Doris Lessing was well-known but became considerably more so as the years passed and ultimately she won the Nobel Prize for literature. She was far from a conformist, had a number of sexual relationships, and for a time was a communist. It seems that she and two of her children had become estranged after she left them with her husband when she moved from Africa to London. My impression was that there was some serious antipathy between John and his mother and so I avoided asking about his family. I had not read any of Doris Lessing’s books at that point and John avoided any mention of them. Recently I discovered that near the end of John’s life, they had reconciled but when she referred to John it was done not with warmth but more as a dissection of their being biologically related. John was a kind and gentle person. He left Ocean Falls in February but we carried on a correspondence for a time. The following Christmas, he sent me an LP, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, read by the author, Dylan Thomas. The recording was a fine reflection of what John was like as a person."

[BCBW 2016]