Jeanette Winterson: Biography

Jeanette Winterson

27 aug 1959

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She is an award-winning author, whose first work, a semi-autobiographical novel, made her famous and an important member of the literary community. Winterson was brought up in Lancashire by her adopted parents. Jeanette was a member of the Elim Pentecostal Church and started writing sermons for services when he was just 6 years old. She left home at the age of 16, shortly after she had identified that she was a lesbian. She went on to read English at Oxford University.

Her first, and most iconic, novel Oranges are not the Only Fruit won the Whitbread Prize for a First Novel in 1985. It was adapted to become a TV series and was given a BAFTA for best drama in 1990. This first novel told the story of a teenage girl who rebelled against conservative and conventional societal values. It is semi-autobiographical, drawing on Winterson’s own experiences of her adolescence. Her later novels have gone on to address issues such as gender identity and sexuality.

In 2006, Winterson’s services to literature were recognized by awarding her with an OBE. She has had a number of high-profile and significant relationships since she came out. Her book, The Passion, was partly inspired by the relationship she had with her literary agent, Pat Kavanagh.

Jeanette Winterson now lives in London, England, with her wife Susie Orbach, whom she married in 2015. She continues to write novels, but also works as a broadcaster and a creative writing professor. Her most recent novel, The Gap of Time, is reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, which has been published to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.