Jeanette Winterson's Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is Hay Festival Book of the Month for April, continuing the festival's campaign to celebrate and ignite conversation around current and backlist books that have contemporary resonance.
In 1985 Jeanette Winterson's first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published. It was Jeanette's version of the story of a terraced house in Accrington, an adopted child, and the thwarted giantess Mrs Winterson. This book is a retelling of that story, its silent twin, published in 2011.
"I suppose the saddest thing for me," Winterson writes, "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."
Jeanette Winterson CBE was born in Manchester. Adopted by Pentecostal parents, she was raised to be a missionary. Discovering early the power of books she left home at 16 to live in a Mini and get on with her education. After graduating from Oxford University she worked for a while in the theatre and published her first novel at 25. She has written 10 novels for adults, as well as children’s books, non-fiction and screenplays. She is Professor of New Writing at the University of Manchester.
Run in partnership with Vanity Fair, Hay Festival’s Book of the Month is selected by the festival team in Hay-on-Wye, based on public recommendations, and aims to revisit and re-celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry that reach through time to touch the present.
Titles are sold in the UK through the festival’s online shop, as well as being available in all good libraries and bookshops, with a digital festival of promotion online, including curated streams on the festival’s Hay Player archive.
Find out more about Hay Festival’s Book of the Month here or explore #HayBookOfTheMonth on social.