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British spies reveal file on Nobel winner Doris Lessing

Friday, August 21, 2015 - 01:39

Files reveal that Nobel prize winning author Doris Lessing was placed under surveillance by the British intelligence services for more than 20 years. Bob Mezan reports.

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Newly declassified intelligence files have revealed that Nobel Prize-winning writer Doris Lessing was under surveillance for more than 20 years by British spies who took a dim view of her Communist ideology and anti-racist activism. Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007. She was the author of "The Golden Notebook," one of the most influential novels of the 1960s. MI5, Britain's internal intelligence service, had built up a five-volume secret file on Lessing that has now been placed in the National Archives and was made public on Friday (August 21). The Archives Dr Richard Dunley elaborated. SOUNDBITE: Dr Richard Dunley, The National Archives, saying (English): "She was quite an influential figure. She was writing certainly by the early 1950s, she was a popular author and there would have been some concern for her support of the Soviet Union and Soviet and communist type organizations, cultural organizations, but MI5 are not going to be actively getting involved in this, it's more of a case them monitoring what she was getting up to." One of the earliest documents is an extract copied from a letter from an Air Ministry official, dated 1944, about the Left Book Club that Lessing ran with her second husband Gottfried Lessing, a German Communist. Lessing, who died in 2013 at age 94, looked back late in life at her years as a Communist Party member and was quoted as saying, "I can't understand why I was so gullible."

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British spies reveal file on Nobel winner Doris Lessing

Friday, August 21, 2015 - 01:39