Doris Lessing was born in Persia in 1919, her father being an employee of the Imperial Bank of Persia. The family left Persia in 1924, spent a year in England with relatives, then went to Southern Rhodesia. She was brought up on the Lomagundi district of Southern Rhodesia on a maize farm and attended schools in Harare.
At 19 she married a civil servant, Frank Wisdom, they had a son, John (1939) and a daughter, Jean (1941). This marriage ended in divorce in 1943. Doris's second marriage was to Gottfried Lessing, a German refugee. They had a son, Peter (1946). This marriage also ended in divorce and Doris and Peter moved to the UK in 1949.
Doris arrived in London with the manuscript of her first novel, The Grass is Singing, which was published in 1950.
Doris Lessing holds the title of Distinguished Fellow in Literature at the University of East Anglia and received an Honorary degree from the UEA in 1985. She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007.