Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing has slammed the Internet for dumbing down society and stifling creativity.
Lessing, at 88 the oldest Nobel laureate, blames the Internet for seducing "a whole generation into its inanities", creating a world where people don't know anything.
She also railed against the discrepancy between the new and old worlds in terms of hunger for books, drawing on her experiences in Zimbabwe where children beg for books and teach themselves to read using jam jar labels. In many developed countries, on the other hand, children refuse to read and libraries languish unused.
A line from her acceptance speech, which was delivered by her publisher, reads: "We are in a fragmenting culture, where our certainties of even a few decades ago are questioned and where it is common for young men and women, who have had years of education, to know nothing of the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other, for instance, computers.
"In order to write, in order to make literature, there must be a close connection with libraries, books, the tradition," she says, claiming that as the Internet takes over as the primary information source, other sources – including literature dating back to ancient times – was being ignored.