Novelist Doris Lessing (pictured), who died recently at age 94, had won many awards and prizes for her work, but hadn’t cared much about them.
For example, one day she was returning home from grocery shopping when a Reuters reporter standing in front of her house informed her that she had been awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. Her reaction is worth watching – from her first words (“Oh, Christ.”) to her asking the reporter what he thought she should say. (Can you imagine, say, Donald Trump asking that?) See the video here (2 minutes and 23 seconds).
It was not her first show of disdain for honors. In 1992 she was offered the chance to become a Dame; she declined the offer with a letter to then-Prime Minister John Major’s Principal Private Secretary, Alex Allan. Here’s a sample:
“Dame of what? Dame of Britain? Dame of the British Islands? Dame of the British Commonwealth? Dame of ....? Never mind.” (Spacing modified from the original)The Takeaway: What a woman! May she rest in peace.