History of Literature

English literature


Jeanette Winterson

born Aug. 27, 1959, Manchester, Eng.

British novelist noted for her quirky, unconventional, and often comic novels.

Educated at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, Winterson held various jobs while working on her writing. Her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985), won a Whitbread Award as that year’s best first novel. It concerns the relationship between a young lesbian and her adoptive mother, a religious fanatic. The Passion (1987), her second work, is a picaresque historical novel that chronicles the adventures of Villanelle, an enslaved Venetian woman who is rescued by Henri, a cook from Napoleon’s army. Attempting to reach Venice, the two travel through Russia in winter.

Winterson’s other novels include Sexing the Cherry (1989); Written on the Body (1992); Art and Lies (1994), about dehumanization and the absence of love in society; Gut Symmetries (1997); The PowerBook (2000); Lighthousekeeping (2004), an exploration of the nature of storytelling told through the tale of an orphaned girl sent to live in a Scottish lighthouse; and The Stone Gods (2007), a foray into science fiction. Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery, which covers various topics such as Gertrude Stein, modern literature, and lesbianism, was published in 1995. Winterson also produced a collection of short stories, The World and Other Places (1998), and screenplays for television. She was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006.



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