Dressed in a maroon velvet gown with a scarf, Lessing looked in good health, despite having to be helped to and from the podium, and smiled as she received the award from the Swedish Ambassador to London Staffan Carlsson, who told her she was “crowned with a prize you have long deserved”.
Lessing told the gathering at her prize ceremony: “Thank you does no seem enough when you’ve won the best of them all.
“It is astonishing and amazing.
“I would like to say that there isn’t anywhere to go from here,” she added, later joking that she “could get a pat on the head from the Pope.”
In October, the 88-year-old became only the 11th woman to win the prize since it was first awarded in 1901.
The Swedish Academy described the author of “The Golden Notebook” as “that epicist of the female experience who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny.”
Her novels over five decades have covered feminism and politics, as well her youth in Africa.
The Nobel literature laureate traditionally presents a lecture at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm in the days prior to the award ceremony held each year on December 10th.
Lessing’s Nobel lecture was delivered in Stockholm by her publisher on December 7th.