Novelist Jeanette Winterston was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985.
One of the most original voices in British fiction to emerge during the 1980s, Jeanette Winterson was named as one of the 20 'Best of Young British Writers' in a promotion run jointly between the literary magazine Granta and the Book Marketing Council. Over the last thirty years, Jeanette Winterson has worked across the genres of film, essay, novel, children's literature and short story.
It is the formal indeterminacy and genre-bending of her individual works, for which she is best known. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit (1985), still the best known of Winterson’s works, sets the tone in this sense. Somewhere between autobiography and novel, her debut combines gritty realism, the bible, and elements of fantasy, fable and fairytale in a composite narrative that Winterson has called ‘fiction masquerading as memoir’.
In 2006, she was awarded an OBE, and in 2011, her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? was published.
Jeanette Winterson, © 2019, British Council - Literature
On the shelves:
- The Daylight gate
- The Gap of time: The Winter's tale retold
- Oranges are not the only fruit
Young adult fiction:
- GradeSaver: Oranges are not the only fruit --- Why be happy when you could be normal?
- Spark Notes: Oranges are not the only fruit
- ABC, 2016, 'Becoming Jeanette Winterson: a storyteller's tale', Conversations with Richard Fidler', 18 May [Audio download 51:25]
- Allardice, Lisa, 2019, 'Jeanette Winterson: I did worry about looking at sex bots', The Guardian, 18 May
- Case, Jo, 2012, 'Jeanette Winterson and the Gospel of literature, The Wheeler Centre, 21st May
- Jeanette Winterson on arts funding, 2016, The Wheeler Centre, [Jeanette Winterson answered a question from the audience about arts funding, as part of her Wheeler Centre event (16 May 2016)]
- SinhaRoy, Sanhita, 2012, 'An Interview with Jeanette Winterson, British author Jeanette Winterson discusses her love of books and language - and their redemptive effects on the human spirit.' American Libraries, 13 March.
The Daylight Gate:
- Cheuse, Alan, 2013, ''Gate" opens to a bloody and raucous 17th century England', NPR, 28 October
- Hall, Sarah, 2012, 'The Daylight gate by Jeanette Winterson. A gripping and grisly gothic tale of witchery has Sarah Hall on edge', The Guardian, 16 August
- Abadee, Nicole, 2019, ''Frankisstein: A love story by Jeanette Winterson', Australian Book Review', no. 214, June-July.
- Byers, Sam, 2019, 'Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson - a dazzling reanimation of Shelley's novel', The Guardian, 24 May
- Delaney, George, 2019, 'Frankissstein: A love story', Readings, 29 May
The Gap of Time:
- Courtney, Lorraine, 2016, 'The Gap of time by Jeanette Winterson', The Irish Times, 26 November
- Crown, Sarah, 2015, 'The Gap of time - an elegant retelling of Shakespeare, The Guardian, 7 October
Oranges are not the only fruit:
- Mullan, John, 2007, 'Bible story. Jeanette Winterson's Oranges are Not the Only Fruit as a source of both structure and meaning', The Guardian, 21 October
- Mullan, John, 2007, 'Tue storie. John Mullan on disentangling fiction from autobiography in Jeanette Winterson's Oranges are Not the Only Fruit', The Guardian, 27 October
Why be happy when you could be normal?
- Bryne, Jennifer, 2012, 'Why be normal when you could be happy?' ABC Book Club, 3 April. - Transcript and video download [12:50]
- Williams, Zoe, 2011, 'Why be normal when you could be happy?', The Guardian, 3 November
Criticism and interpretation:
- Ermelino, Louisa, 2012, 'The Bible told her so: Jeanette Winterson', PW, 24 February
- Winterson, Jeanette, 2018, 'I sat in my greenhouse watching the snow falling like stars', The Independent, 20 December
- Winterson, Jeanette, 2017, 'We need to be more imaginative about modern marriage', The Guardian, 8 April