Jeanette Winterson: Author & Adoptee

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson 02.JPG

Jeanette Winterson, Warsaw, Poland, 16 February 2005
Born 27 August 1959 (age 53)
Manchester, England
Occupation Writer, journalist, delicatessen owner
Nationality British
Period 1985–
Genres Fiction, children’s fiction, journalism, science fiction
Notable work(s) Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Partner(s) Peggy Reynolds (1990-2002), Susie Orbach

Jeanette Winterson, OBE (born 27 August 1959) is a British writer.

Early years

Winterson was born in Manchester and adopted by Constance and John William Winterson on 21 January 1960.[1] She grew up in Accrington, Lancashire, and was raised in the Elim Pentecostal Church. Intending to become a Pentecostal Christian missionary, she began evangelising and writing sermons at age six.[2][3]

By the age of 16 Winterson had identified herself as a lesbian and left home.[4] She soon after attended Accrington and Rossendale College, and supported herself at a variety of odd jobs while reading for a degree in English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.[5][6]


After moving to London, her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, won the 1985 Whitbread Prize for a First Novel, and was adapted for television by Winterson in 1990. This in turn won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama. She won the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Passion, a novel set in Napoleonic Europe.

Winterson’s subsequent novels explore the boundaries of physicality and the imagination, gender polarities, and sexual identities, and have won several literary awards. Her stage adaptation of The PowerBook in 2002 opened at the Royal National Theatre, London. She also bought a derelict terraced house in Spitalfields, east London, which she refurbished into a flat as a pied-a-terre and a ground-floor shop, Verde’s, to sell organic food.[7]

Winterson was made an officer of Order of the British Empire (OBE) at the 2006 New Year Honours “For services to literature”.[8]

In 2009, she donated the short story Dog Days to Oxfam’s Ox-Tales project comprising four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Winterson’s story was published in the Fire collection.[9] She also supported the relaunch of the Bush Theatre in London’s Shepherd’s Bush. She wrote and performed work for the Sixty Six project, based on a chapter of the King James Bible, along with other novelists and poets including Paul Muldoon, Carol Ann Duffy, Anne Michaels and Catherine Tate.[10][11]

In 2012, she succeeded Colm Tóibín as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester.[12]

She is a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Awards. Written on the Body won in the category of Lesbian Fiction in 1994, and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? won in the category of Lesbian Memoir or Biography in 2013.[13]

Personal life

In 2002, Winterson ended her 12-year relationship with BBC radio broadcaster and academic Peggy Reynolds.[14] Since then she has been involved with theatre director Deborah Warner and therapist Susie Orbach.[15] Her novel The Passion was inspired by her affair with Pat Kavanagh, her literary agent.[16]





  1. ^ “Jeanette Winterson: all about my mother”. The Guardian (London). 29 October 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  2. ^ Brooks, Libby (2 September 2000). “Power surge”. The Guardian (London).
  3. ^ International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies, Volume 6, Number 4. SpringerLink. Retrieved on 26 August 2011.
  4. ^ Patricia Juliana Smith (24 July 2006). “Winterson, Jeanette (b. 1959)”. glbtq Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  5. ^ Winterson profile
  6. ^ Lancashire Telegraph “Amazon sorry for book sales error which hit Accrington author” 14 April 2009
  7. ^ Kate Kellaway (25 June 2006). “If I Was a Dog, I’d Be a Terrier”. The Observer (London). Retrieved 6 December 2008.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57855. p. 13. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
  9. ^ Ox-Tales. Oxfam. Retrieved on 26 August 2011.
  10. ^ The Sixty Six Project. Bush Theatre. Retrieved on 26 August 2011.
  11. ^ Guardian “Sixty-Six Books – review” 16 October 2011
  12. ^ “Winterson becomes Manchester Professor”. The University of Manchester. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  13. ^ “25th annual Lambda Literary Award winners announced”. LGBT Weekly, June 4, 2013.
  14. ^ Maya Jaggi (29 May 2004). “Saturday Review: Profile: Jeanette Winterson”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  15. ^ Stuart Jeffries (22 February 2010). “Jeanette Winterson: ‘I thought of suicide'”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  16. ^ Gadher, Dipesh (26 October 2008). “Lesbian novelist Jeanette Winterson planned last visit to dying ex-lover”. The Sunday Times. Retrieved 17 March 2011.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jeanette Winterson
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Jeanette Winterson

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