2013-2014 Writers at Rutgers Reading Series


Writers at Rutgers: Jeanette Winterson

When:  Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 08:00pm

Where:  Rutgers Student Center, Multipurpose Room - 126 College Ave, New Brunswick NJ, US, 08901

Category:  2013-2014 Writers at Rutgers Reading Series

Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England, and adopted by Pentecostal parents who brought her up in the nearby mill-town of Accrington. As a Northern working class girl she was not encouraged to be clever. Her adopted father was a factory worker, her mother stayed at home. There were only six books in the house, including the Bible and Cruden's Complete Concordance to the Old and New Testaments. Strangely, one of the other books was Malory's Morte d'Arthur, and it was this that started her life quest of reading and writing. The house had no bathroom either, which was fortunate because it meant that Jeanette could read her books by flashlight in the outside toilet. Reading was not much approved unless it was the Bible. Her parents intended her for the missionary field. Schooling was erratic but Jeanette had got herself into a girl's grammar school and later she read English at Oxford University. This was not an easy transition. Jeanette had left home at 16 after falling in love with another girl. While she took her A levels she lived in various places, supporting herself by evening and weekend work. In a year off to earn money, she worked as a domestic in a lunatic asylum.


After Oxford, she did odd jobs in the theatre and wrote her first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, when she was 23. It was published a year later in 1985. At the same time she published a comic book with pictures, Boating For Beginners. She then worked for her publishers at the time, Pandora Press, before publishing The Passion in 1987 with Bloomsbury in the UK and Knopf in the States. At that point she became a full-time writer, publishing Sexing The Cherry in 1989, Written On The Body in 1992, Art & Lies 1994, Art Objects (essays) 1995, Gut Symmetries 1997, The World And Other Places (short stories) 1998, The.Powerbook in 2000, a book for children: The King of Capri, in 2003, Lighthousekeeping in 2004, and her latest, The Stone Gods in 2007. In 2005, she published Weight, a re-working of the story of Atlas and Hercules, for the Canongate Books Myth series. In 2006, Bloomsbury published Tanglewreck, her first novel for older children (9-11). In addition she dramatised Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit for BBCTV in 1990, and wrote a TV film, Great Moments In Aviation for BBC 2 in 1994.

In 2002 she adapted her novel The PowerBook for the Royal National Theatre London, and Theatre de Chaillot, Paris. The stage version was directed by Deborah Warner, and starred Fiona Shaw, Saffron Burroughs and Pauline Lynch.


In 2006 Jeanette Winterson was awarded an OBE for services to literature.

Jeanette Winterson has won various awards around the world for her fiction and adaptations, including the Whitbread Prize, UK, and the Prix d'argent, Cannes Film Festival.

She writes regularly for various UK newspapers, especially The Times and The Guardian, and her journalism can be found on the site.

Jeanette Winterson lives in Gloucestershire in a small cottage in a wood. When she is not there, she is living over her shop (Verdes) in London in a 1790’s house she restored from derelict.