Jeanette Winterson

By: Amanda French
August 27, 2011

Jeanette Winterson 2010 -- Photo by Chris Boland /

Photo by Chris Boland /

It seems appropriate that JEANETTE WINTERSON (born 1959), author of Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, now owns and lives above an organic market in Spitalfields in London. Not the only fruit, indeed. That autobiographical novel was published back in 1985 when she was only twenty-four, and somehow it made the story of growing up lesbian in a fundamentalist Christian household feel like the story of everyone’s childhood. Similarly, Winterson’s 1992 book, Written on the Body, made gender and sexual orientation both central and irrelevant, being told by a narrator whose sex is never clear. Winterson’s love life has been the subject of a fair bit of interest in the British press, especially after she had an affair with Pat Kavanagh (who was married to novelist Julian Barnes at the time), and again after she admitted to having occasional affairs with men, and again after she began an affair with Susie Orbach, author of Fat is a Feminist Issue. But whatever startlements of passion might disrupt her private life (or others’), Winterson’s novels remain reliably detailed, specific, and interested in all manner of things, from cancer to clementines.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Paul Reubens and Jimmy Finlayson.

READ MORE about members of the Original Generation X (1954-63).


HiLo Heroes, Literature