Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  eddie on Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:57 am

Jeanette Winterson: all about my mother

When her mother burnt her treasured hidden store of paperbacks, Jeanette Winterson decided the time had come to start writing herself. She looks back on how her loveless upbringing led to her becoming a writer

Jeanette Winterson
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 October 2011 22.55 BST


Jeanette Winterson's adoptive mother, July 1945. Photograph: Courtesy Jeanette Winterson/Jonathan Cape


For most of my life I've been a bare-knuckle fighter. The one who wins is the one who hits the hardest. I was beaten as a child and I learned early never to cry. If I was locked out overnight I sat on the doorstep till the milkman came, drank both pints, left the empty bottles to enrage my mother, and walked to school.


Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
by Jeanette Winterson

We always walked. We had no car and no bus money. For me, the average was five miles a day: two miles for the round trip to school; three miles for the round trip to church. Church was every night except Thursdays.

I wrote about some of these things in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and when it was published, my mother sent me a furious note in her immaculate copperplate handwriting demanding a phone call.

We hadn't seen each other for several years. I had left Oxford, was scraping together a life, and had written Oranges young – I was 25 when it was published. I went to a phone box – I had no phone. She went to a phone box – she had no phone. I dialled the Accrington code and number as instructed, and there she was – who needs Skype? I could see her through her voice, her form solidifying in front of me as she talked.

She was a big woman, tallish and weighing around 20 stone. Surgical stockings, flat sandals, a Crimplene dress and a nylon headscarf. She would have done her face powder (keep yourself nice), but not lipstick (fast and loose).

She filled the phone box. She was out of scale, larger than life. She was like a fairy story where size is approximate and unstable. She loomed up. She expanded. Only later, much later, too late, did I understand how small she was to herself. The baby nobody picked up. The uncarried child still inside her. But that day she was borne up on the shoulders of her own outrage. She said, "It's the first time I've had to order a book in a false name."

I tried to explain what I had hoped to do. 1985 wasn't the era of the memoir – and in any case, I hadn't written one. I was trying to get away from the received idea that women always write about "experience" – the compass of what they know – while men write wide and bold, the big canvas, the experiment with form: Jane Austen's famous two inches of ivory; the domestic, interior worlds of Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf. Why should a woman be limited by anything or anybody? Why should a woman not be ambitious for literature? Ambitious for herself?

Mrs Winterson was having none of it. She knew full well that writers were sex-crazed bohemians who broke the rules and didn't go out to work. Books had been pretty much forbidden in our house, and so for me to have written one, and had it published, and had it win a prize … and be standing in a phone box giving her a lecture on literature, a polemic on feminism …

The pips – more money in the slot – and I'm thinking, as her voice goes in and out like the sea, "Why aren't you proud of me?" The pips – more money in the slot – and I'm locked out and sitting on the doorstep again. It's really cold and I've got a newspaper under my bum and I'm huddled in my duffel coat.

A woman comes by whom I know. She gives me a bag of chips. She knows what my mother is like.

Inside our house the light is on. Dad's sometimes on the night shift, so she can go to bed, but she won't sleep. She'll read the Bible all night, and when Dad comes home, he'll let me in, and he'll say nothing, and she'll say nothing, and we'll act like it's normal to leave your kid outside all night, and normal never to sleep with your husband. And normal to have two sets of false teeth, and a revolver in the duster drawer …

We're still on the phone in our phone boxes. She tells me that my success is from the Devil, keeper of the wrong crib. She confronts me with the fact that I have used my own name in the novel – if it is a story, why is the main character called Jeanette?

Adopted children are self-invented because we have to be; there is an absence, a void, a question mark at the very beginning of our lives. A crucial part of our story is gone, and violently, like a bomb in the womb.

The baby explodes into an unknown world that is only knowable through some kind of a story – of course that is how we all live, it's the narrative of our lives, but adoption drops you into the story after it has started. It's like reading a book with the first few pages missing. It's like arriving after curtain up. The feeling that something is missing never leaves you – and it can't, and it shouldn't, because something is missing.

It's why I am a writer – I don't say "decided" to be, or "became". It was not an act of will or even a conscious choice. To avoid the narrow mesh of Mrs Winterson's story I had to be able to tell my own.

There was a terraced house in Accrington, in Lancashire – we called those houses two-up two-down: two rooms downstairs, two rooms upstairs. Three of us lived together in that house for 16 years. I told my version – faithful and invented, accurate and misremembered, shuffled in time. I made myself a hero, like in any shipwreck story. It was a shipwreck, with me thrown on the coastline of humankind, and finding it not altogether human, and rarely kind.

And I suppose that the saddest thing for me, thinking about Oranges, is that I wrote a story I could live with. The other one was too painful. I could not survive it.

I am often asked, in a tick-box kind of way, what is "true" and what is not "true" in Oranges. Did I work in a funeral parlour? Did I drive an ice-cream van? Did we have a Gospel Tent? Did Mrs Winterson build her own CB radio? Did she really stun tomcats with a catapult?

I can't answer these questions. I can say that there is a character in Oranges called Testifying Elsie who looks after the little Jeanette and acts as a soft wall against the hurt(ling) force of Mother.

I wrote her in because I couldn't bear to leave her out. I wrote her in because I really wished it had been that way. When you are a solitary child you find an imaginary friend. There was no Elsie. There was no one like Elsie. Things were much lonelier than that.

Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world.

Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story's silent twin. There are so many things that we can't say, because they are too painful. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent.

I needed words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself.

I was born in Manchester in 1959. Sometime, between six weeks and six months old, I got picked up from Manchester and taken to Accrington. It was all over for me and the woman whose baby I was. She was gone. I was gone. I was adopted: 21 January 1960 is the date when John William Winterson, labourer, and Constance Winterson, clerk, got the baby they thought they wanted and took it home to 200 Water Street, Accrington, Lancashire. They had bought the house for £200 in 1947, the coldest British winter of the 20th century, snow so high it reached the top of the upright piano as they pushed it in through the door. The war was over and my dad was out of the army, doing his best, trying to make a living, and his wife was throwing her wedding ring in the gutter and refusing all sexual relations.

I know they both drank a bit and they both smoked before they found Jesus. And I don't think my mother was depressed in those days. After the tent crusade, during which they became Pentecostal evangelical Christians, they both gave up drink – except for cherry brandy at New Year – and my father traded in his Woodbines for Polo mints. My mother carried on smoking because she said it kept her weight down. Her smoking had to be a secret, though, and she kept an air freshener she claimed was fly spray in her handbag. No one seemed to think it was unusual to keep fly spray in your handbag.

She was convinced that God would find her a child, and I suppose that if God is providing the baby, having sex can be crossed off the list. I don't know how Dad felt about this. Mrs Winterson always said, "He's not like other men …"

Every Friday he gave her his pay packet and she gave him back enough change for three packets of Polo mints. She said, "They're his only pleasure …" Poor Dad. When he got married again at 72, his new wife, Lillian, who was 10 years younger and a good-time girl, told me it was like sleeping with a red-hot poker.

Until I was two years old, I screamed. This was evidence in plain sight that I was possessed by the Devil. Child psychology hadn't reached Accrington, and in spite of important work by Winnicott, Bowlby and Balint on attachment, and the trauma of early separation from the love object that is the mother, a screaming baby wasn't a broken-hearted baby – she was a Devil baby.

That gave me a strange power as well as making me vulnerable. I think my new parents were frightened of me.

Babies are frightening – raw tyrants whose only kingdom is their own body. My new mother had a lot of problems with the body – her own, my dad's, their bodies together, and mine. She had muffled her own body in flesh and clothes, suppressed its appetites with a fearful mixture of nicotine and Jesus, dosed it with purgatives that made her vomit, submitted it to doctors, who administered enemas and pelvic rings, subdued its desires for ordinary touch and comfort. Then suddenly, not out of her own body, and with no preparation, she had a thing that was all body. A burping, vomiting, sprawling faecal thing blasting the house with rude life.

She was 37 when I arrived, and my dad was 40. That is pretty normal these days, but it wasn't normal in the 1960s when people married early and started their families in their 20s. She and my father had already been married for 15 years.

They had an old-fashioned marriage in that my father never cooked, and after I arrived, my mother never worked outside the home. This was very bad for her, and turned her inward-looking nature into walled-in depression. There were many fights, and about many things, but the battle between us was really the battle between happiness and unhappiness.

I was very often full of rage and despair. I was always lonely. In spite of all that I was and am in love with life. When I was upset I went roaming into the Pennines – all day on a jam sandwich and a bottle of milk. When I was locked outside, or the other favourite, locked in the coal-hole, I made up stories and forgot about the cold and the dark.

There were six books in our house. One was the Bible and two were commentaries on the Bible. My mother was a pamphleteer by temperament, and she knew that sedition and controversy are fired by printed matter. Ours was not a secular house, and my mother was determined that I should have no secular influences.

I asked my mother why we couldn't have books, and she said, "The trouble with a book is that you never know what's in it until it's too late." I thought to myself, "Too late for what?"

I began to read books in secret – there was no other way – and every time I opened the pages, I wondered if this time it would be too late; a final draught that would change me forever, like the contents of Alice's bottle, like the tremendous potion in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, like the mysterious liquid that seals the fate of Tristan and Isolde.

Growing up is difficult. Strangely, even when we have stopped growing physically, we seem to have to keep on growing emotionally, which involves both expansion and shrinkage, as some parts of us develop and others must be allowed to disappear … Rigidity never works; we end up being the wrong size for our world.

I used to have an anger so big it would fill up any house. I used to feel so hopeless that I was like Tom Thumb, who has to hide under a chair so as not to be trodden on. Mrs Winterson was too big for her world, but she crouched gloomy and awkward under its low shelf, now and again exploding to her full 300 feet, and towering over us. Then, because it was useless, redundant, only destructive, or so it seemed, she shrank back again, defeated.

In my novel Sexing the Cherry (1989) I invented a character called the Dog Woman; a giantess who lives on the River Thames. She suffers because she is too big for her world. She was another reading of my mother.


Six books … my mother didn't want books falling into my hands. It never occurred to her that I fell into the books – that I put myself inside them for safe keeping.

Every week Mrs Winterson sent me to the Accrington Public Library to collect her stash of murder mysteries. Yes, that is a contradiction, but our contradictions are never so to ourselves. She liked Ellery Queen and Raymond Chandler, and when I challenged her over the business of "the trouble with a book [to rhyme with spook] is that you never know what's in it until it's too late", she replied that if you know there is a body coming, it isn't so much of a shock.

I was allowed to read non-fiction books about kings and queens and history, but never, ever, fiction. Those were the books there was trouble in …

The Accrington Public Library was a fully stocked library built out of stone on the values of an age of self-help and betterment. It was finally finished in 1908 with money from the Carnegie Foundation. Outside are carved heads of Shakespeare and Milton, Chaucer and Dante. Inside are art nouveau tiles and a gigantic stained-glass window that says KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

The library held all the Eng lit classics, and quite a few surprises like Gertrude Stein. I had no idea of what to read or in what order, so I just started alphabetically. Thank God her last name was Austen … At home one of the six books was unexpected; a copy of Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Mallory. It was a beautiful edition with pictures, and it had belonged to a bohemian, educated uncle – her mother's brother. So she kept it and I read it.

The stories of Arthur, of Lancelot and Guinevere, of Merlin, of Camelot and the Grail docked into me like the missing molecule of a chemical compound. I have gone on working with the Grail stories all my life. They are stories of loss, of loyalty, of failure, of recognition, of second chances. I used to have to put the book down and run past the part where Perceval, searching for the Grail, is given a vision of it one day, and then, because he is unable to ask the crucial question, the Grail disappears. Perceval spends 20 years wandering in the woods, looking for the thing that he found, that was given to him, that seemed so easy, that was not.

Later, when things were difficult for me with my work, and I felt that I had lost or turned away from something I couldn't even identify, it was the Perceval story that gave me hope. There might be a second chance … In fact, there are more than two chances – many more. I know now, after 50 years, that the finding/losing, forgetting/ remembering, leaving/returning never stops. And of course I loved the Lancelot story because it is all about longing and unrequited love. Yes, the stories are dangerous, she was right. A book is a door. You open it. You step through. Do you come back?


I was 16 and my mother was about to throw me out of the house for ever, for breaking a very big rule – even bigger than the forbidden books. The rule was not just No Sex, but definitely No Sex With Your Own Sex. I was scared and unhappy. I remember going down to the library to collect the murder mysteries. One of the books my mother had ordered was called Murder in the Cathedral by TS Eliot. She assumed it was a gory story about nasty monks – and she liked anything that was bad for the pope.

The book looked a bit short to me, so I had a look and saw that it was written in verse. Definitely not right … I had never heard of TS Eliot. I thought he might be related to George Eliot. The librarian told me he was an American poet who had lived in England for most of his life. He had died in 1965, and he had won the Nobel prize.

I wasn't reading poetry because my aim was to work my way through ENGLISH LITERATURE IN PROSE A-Z. But this was different … I read: "This is one moment, / But know that another / Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy".

I started to cry. Readers looked up reproachfully, and the librarian reprimanded me, because in those days you weren't even allowed to sneeze in a library, let alone weep. So I took the book outside and read it all the way through, sitting on the steps in the usual northern gale. The unfamiliar and beautiful play made things bearable that day, and the things it made bearable were another failed family – the first one was not my fault, but all adopted children blame themselves. The second failure was definitely my fault.

I was confused about sex and sexuality, and upset about the straightforward practical problems of where to live, what to eat, and how to do my A levels. I had no one to help me, but the TS Eliot helped me. So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn't be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy.

I used to work on the market on Saturdays, and after school on Thursdays and Fridays, packing up. I used the money to buy books. I smuggled them inside and hid them under the mattress. Anybody with a single bed, standard size, and a collection of paperbacks, standard size, will know that 72 per layer can be accommodated under the mattress. By degrees my bed began to rise visibly, like the Princess and the Pea, so that soon I was sleeping closer to the ceiling than to the floor. My mother was suspicious-minded, but even if she had not been, it was clear that her daughter was going up in the world.

One night she came in and saw the corner of a paperback sticking out from under the mattress. She pulled it out and examined it with her flashlight. It was an unlucky choice; DH Lawrence, Women in Love. Mrs Winterson knew that Lawrence was a satanist and a pornographer, and, hurling it out of the window, she rummaged and rifled and I came tumbling off the bed while she threw book after book out of the window and into the backyard. I was grabbing books and trying to hide them, the dog was running off with them, my dad was standing helpless in his pyjamas.

When she had done, she picked up the little paraffin stove we used to heat the bathroom, went into the yard, poured paraffin over the books and set them on fire. I watched them blaze and blaze and remember thinking how warm it was, how light, on the freezing Saturnian January night. I had bound them all in plastic because they were precious. Now they were gone.

In the morning there were stray bits of texts all over the yard and in the alley. Burnt jigsaws of books. I collected some of the scraps. What does Eliot say? These fragments I have shored against my ruins …

I realised something important: whatever is on the outside can be taken away at any time. Only what is inside you is safe. I began to memorise texts. We had always memorised long chunks of the Bible, and it seems that people in oral traditions have better memories than those who rely on printed text. The rhythm and image of poetry make it easier to recall than prose, easier to chant. But I needed prose too, and so I made my own concise versions of 19th-century novels – going for the talismanic, not worrying much about the plot. I had lines inside me – a string of guiding lights. I had language.

My first sense of that painful joy that Eliot had written about was walking up to the hill above our house, the long stretchy streets with a town at the bottom and a hill at the top. The cobbled streets. The streets that went straight to the Factory Bottoms.

The books had gone, but they were objects; what they held could not be so easily destroyed. What they held was already inside me, and together we would get away. And standing over the smouldering pile of paper and type, still warm the next cold morning, I understood that there was something else I could do. "Fuck it," I thought, "I can write my own."

Copyright 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  ISN on Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:26 pm

that was a good read, thanks, Eddie....

ISN
Endlessly Fascinating

Posts : 598
Join date : 2011-04-10
Location : hell

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:03 am

I have been listening to Jeanette reading excerpts from this book on Radio 4 this week. It's on at 9.45 a.m. for 15 minutes all this week.

Excellent, the book is going on my Christmas list.

_________________
"Celine Dion and Oprah have given more to the world than any living member of the british royal family." - Captain Hi-Top

Nah Ville Sky Chick
Miss Whiplash

Posts : 580
Join date : 2011-04-11

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  eddie on Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:20 am

ISN wrote:that was a good read, thanks, Eddie....

Thought you might like it. Smile

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  eddie on Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:30 am

An ex-girlfriend was raised by a (biological) mother who belonged to an evangelical Pentecostalist sect in a (different) town in the north of England. She is now a militant atheist, works in the computer industry, takes an interest in astronomy, paleantology and other sciences and hasn't spoken to her mother in years. She drinks too much. Lots of unresolved anger, there.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  eddie on Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:37 am

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson – review

Jeanette Winterson's memoir is deeply moving

Zoe Williams
guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 November 2011 09.05 GMT


Another life … Charlotte Coleman as Jess in the BBC production of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Photograph: BBC

Jeanette Winterson's memoir is written sparsely and hurriedly; it is sometimes so terse it's almost in note form. The impression this gives is not of sloppiness, but a desperate urgency to make the reader understand. This is certainly the most moving book of Winterson's I have ever read, and it also feels like the most turbulent and the least controlled. In the end, the emotional force of the second half makes me suspect that the apparent artlessness of the first half is a ruse; that, in a Lilliputian fashion, what appears to be a straight narrative of her early life is actually tying the reader down with a thousand imperceptible guy ropes, so that when she unleashes a terrible sorrow, there is no escaping it and no looking away.


Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
by Jeanette Winterson

"Why be happy when you could be normal?" is the real-life question of her adopted mother, as Winterson is evicted, at 16, for taking up with a second girlfriend (the attempts to exorcise her sexuality after the first having been unsuccessful). There are passages and phrases that will be recognisable to anyone who's read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit: this is not surprising, since that first, bold announcement of Winterson's talent was a roman à clef, and never claimed to be otherwise.

So anecdotes and jokes crop up in both books: the mother says the lesbian sweet-shop owners deal in "unnatural passions", and the young Jeanette thinks it means they put chemicals in their sweets; the gospel tent, the CB radio, all the memorable details of the first fictional outing come up again, but the point is not that this is repetitive. Rather, that the documents are intended as companions, to lay this one over the last like tracing paper, so that even if the author poetically denies the possibility of an absolute truth, there emerges nevertheless the shape of the things that actually happened. I had forgotten how upbeat Oranges was; it may have been peopled by eccentrics, with a heroine held in alienation by the aspic of impotent childhood, but there were upsides. "I suppose the saddest thing for me," Winterson writes now, "thinking about the cover version that is Oranges, is that I wrote a story I could live with. The other one was too painful. I could not survive it."

The upbringing as she tells it now is far bleaker; she was beaten, she was often hungry, she was left all night on the doorstep by a mother whose religious excesses might even have been a secondary influence on the household the first being her depression, which was pervasive and relentless. She was not well loved. However, the story's leavened throughout by other observations. The geopolitics I sometimes found bold, and other times found too broad to be conclusive: "In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community – to society?" But it wriggles with humour, even as Jeanette describes Mrs Winterson, who, in between her violent homilies and dishonest violence, had like any good tyrant various crucial absurdities – "she was one of the first women to have a heated corset. Unfortunately, when it overheated it beeped to warn the user. As the corset was by definition underneath her petticoat dress, apron and coat, there was little she could do to cool down except take off her coat and stand in the yard." There is Winterson's quirky favourite hymn ("Cheer up ye saints of God," it starts, "There is nothing to worry about"), her loving, impressionistic descriptions of classic authors, from TS Eliot to Gertrude Stein, as she first encounters them. And even with all this new, distressing detail, the story of her childhood ends well – it ends in escape.

Then there's an odd page or two entitled "Intermission", which finishes: "The womb to tomb of an interesting life – but I can't write my own; never could. Not Oranges. Not now. I would rather go on reading myself as a fiction than as a fact … I am going to miss out 25 years … Maybe later …"

And suddenly we are on to territory which is alarming, moving, at times genuinely terrifying; skip forward a quarter century, and Winterson has just split up from her girlfriend, the theatre director Deborah Warner. She finds her adoption papers in the effects of her dad, when he's moving to an old people's home. She has a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide. "My friends never failed me and when I could talk I did talk to them. But often I could not talk. Language left me. I was in the place before I had any language. The abandoned place." At times she describes the process with precision. Other times, though, the scars of this first abandonment are given in the most unadorned, uncharacteristic prose, as though she's trying to gnaw her way through her own sophistication to get to the truth of it. In a way, the presence in the narrative of Susie Orbach, with whom Winterson started a relationship just before she started looking for her birth mother, acts as a reassurance to the reader as much as to the author, a fixed point to whom we can return, whose very inclusion means that, whatever happens, a fresh abandonment won't be the outcome. Otherwise I genuinely think it would be unbearable. At one point I was crying so much I had tears in my ears.

There is much here that's impressive, but what I find most unusual about it is the way it deepens one's sympathy, for everyone involved, so that the characters who are demons at the start – her adoptive mother but also, to a degree, her acquiescent adoptive father – emerge, by the end, as simply, catastrophically damaged. In the process of uncovering that, she painstakingly unpicks the damage they wreaked on her. The peace she makes with her adoptive family is, in this sense, more important and evocative than the more complicated and double-edged peace that comes with tracking down her birth mother.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  eddie on Mon May 14, 2012 4:03 am

Jeanette Winterson to take up writing professorship at Manchester University

Novelist best known for Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit will teach undergraduates and MA students in city of her birth

Helen Carter

The Guardian, Saturday 12 May 2012


‘I am from Manchester and the north is part of me.’ Jeanette Winterson will teach students and give public lectures in the city of her birth. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

Jeanette Winterson has been appointed professor of creative writing at Manchester University, a post held in recent years by Martin Amis and, briefly, Irish novelist Colm Tóibín.

Winterson, 53, is best known for her 1985 debut novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published soon after she left Oxford University. She will take up her post in October and teach both undergraduates and MA students, as well as giving four public lectures each year.

Winterson was born in Manchester and brought up in the Lancashire mill town of Accrington by devout Pentecostal adoptive parents. The author of novels, screenplays, children's writing and essays, her latest book is a memoir entitled Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? A novella, The Daylight Gate, about Lancashire witches, will be published in August. She was made an OBE six years ago for services to literature.

Winterson described the university's Centre For New Writing as a "serious and exciting place where students are carefully selected and there is a deep interest in what writing can do at an individual level and for the wider culture". She added: "I am from Manchester and the north is part of me; how I write, as well as who I am."

Professor Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the university, said: "She is a brilliant novelist, a public intellectual and a writer who makes the case that the arts matter in contemporary Britain. We are certain she will inspire her Manchester students and audiences."

Winterson contributed to a Guardian guide for writing fictionand gave the following advice: "Turn up for work, discipline allows creative freedom … Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are doing is no good, accept it" and "Take no notice of anyone you don't respect."

Winterson says as "a Northern working-class girl, she was not encouraged to be clever". Her adoptive father worked in a factory and 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. One of the other books was Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, which she says started her life quest of reading and writing.

On her website she notes that 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."

At Manchester's other university – Manchester Metropolitan – the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, is a professor of contemporary poetry.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 60
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Why Jeanette Winterson hates her mother

Post  Sponsored content Today at 8:35 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum