Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

March 21, 1985

This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect.

Zealous and passionate, she seems seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts.  At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves.

Innovative, punchy and tender,  Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.


‘A novel that deserves revisiting…Winterson maintains a balance of tone, a trueness of voice… It remains one of the finest things Winterson has written’ Observer

‘Many consider her to be the best living writer in this language… In her hands, words are fluid, radiant, humming’ Evening Standard

‘Even at a time when so many good and interesting novels are coming out, hers stand out as performances of real originality and extraordinary promise’ John Bayley

‘A wonderful rites-of-passage novel’ Mariella Frostrup

Will you ever write a sequel?

No. Sequels are for when a writer runs out of ideas. If I run out of ideas I’ll stop work. In a section of my most recent novel, The.Powerbook I have gone back into some of the Oranges territory, but that was because there was something left to say. Now it’s done.

Do you think of Oranges as a lesbian novel?

No. It’s for anyone interested in what happens at the frontiers of common-sense. Do you stay safe or do you follow your heart? I’ve never understood why straight fiction is supposed to be for everyone, but anything with a gay character or that includes gay experience is only for queers. That said, I’m really glad the book has made a difference to so many young women.


This is Kindly Light calling Manchester. Come in Manchester, this is Kindly Light