Doris Lessing leaves 3000 book

Doris Lessing leaves 3000 books to Zimbabwe

The celebrated author who died last year bequeaths the Harare city library with her collection of over 3,000 books

Doris Lessing leaves 3000 book

Over 3,000 books belonging to distinguished British author Doris Lessing’s personal collection will be donated to the city library in Harare – almost one year after her death.

The executors of Lessing’s estate decided to split her impressive collection of literature between the University of East Anglia and the Harare city library, with the majority of the librophile’s personal library contents to be sent to Zimbabwe with the help of the author’s favourite charity, Book Aid International.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni praised the donation, saying that the city was “delighted and grateful”:

“It is most heartening to hear that Doris Lessing, with this magnificent gesture, has taken her love for this country beyond her death. We have every reason to feel special to have earned this much in her wishes”

A representative of Book Aid international, the charity which has been enlisted in helping with the logistics of sending the books to Zimbabwe, said: “These books will be deeply appreciated by the people of Zimbabwe, for whom books are a precious but rare resource.”

Doris Lessing had died of old age in her London home in November 2013. Among her many accomplishments, Lessing had received a Nobel Prize for literature in 2007. Despite her sometimes contentious views, her professional accomplishments were widely recognised as forming a leading part of the 20th century’s heritage of literature.

Lessing had spent her formative in Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) from 1924 to 1949. Her involvement with anti-apartheid groups in London from the 1950s onward had resulted in her being banned from both Southern Rhodesia and South Africa for several decades. She was allowed back to enter Zimbabwe after 1982 and visited the country in 1988. For the remainder of her life, Doris Lessing continued to be an advocate of literacy, caring deeply for the betterment of Zimbabwe.

An unnamed family member spoke to The Guardian about the motivation behind the donation:

“In light of consultations conducted in Zimbabwe, agreement has been reached that the recently refurbished Harare city library would be an appropriate home for the collection not only because Doris Lessing lived for some years in Harare, but because she cared deeply about the country and facilitating access to books in Zimbabwe.”