Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester and raised in Lancashire, by adoptive parents. She was raised in the Elim Pentecostal Church and, intending to become a Pentecostal Christian Missionary she began evangelising and writing sermons at age six. By age 16 Winterson left home. She soon after read for a degree in English at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
After moving to London, her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published when she was 24 years old. It won the 1985 Whitbread Black for a First Novel, and was adapted by Winterson in 1990, which in turn won the BAFTA Award for Best Drama. She won the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Passion.
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 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.
Jeanette also writes for many prominent publications including the Guardian, Times, Daily Mail, Observer, New York Times, and Harpers Bazaar, and has featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Winterson was made an officer of Order of the British Empire (OBE) at the 2006 New Year Honours.