Jeanette Winterson was born in 1959 in Manchester, and adopted by a couple from Accrington, Constance and John Winterson, who both belonged to the Pentecostal Evangelical church. Her father worked in a factory and Jeanette attended Accrington Girls’ Grammar School. From a child, she attended the Pentecostal church, wrote her first sermon at the age of eight, and preached there as part of her parents’ plan for her to be a missionary. This plan foundered when the church was unable to accept her first lesbian love affair, at the age of 15. Jeanette Winterson left home and supported herself through Accrington Further Education College, by working in an ice-cream van, a funeral parlour and later in a mental institution. After her A levels, she went up to Oxford, to St Catherine’s College, where she took her BA in English in 1981. On graduating, she moved to London, finding work at the Roundhouse theatre and arts complex and then at Pandora Press, who published her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit in 1985.
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