Jeanette Winterson offers a “Hannah Montana” alternative


Jeanette Winterson is here to tell you that Hannah Montana is not the only tween show. Twenty years after BBC adapted Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit for television, Winterson is taking a shot at children’s programming for BBC1. Her one-off, Ingenious, tells the story of 11-year-old Sally, who finds an antique glass bottle that leads her on a magical adventure.

“I have wanted to work with the BBC again since the days when we won three Baftas for Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Expect great fun and plenty of zest,” Winterson told The Guardian.

And that’s only the beginning. Winterson is also publishing two more books later this year. The first, The Lion, The Unicorn And Me, is aimed at younger children. The story was originally written as a Christmas piece for The Times in 2007. Scholastic is turning it into a picture book.

On her site, Winterson candidly reveals that the inspiration for The Lion, The Unicorn and Me was the “complete and utter depression” she faced after her break-up with long-time partner Peggy Reynolds:

The night before the lecture we had had a very bad phone call and it was clear that everything was over. I did do the lecture, and rather well, but at great personal cost. When I got back to freezing home — and no milk in the fridge, and no one there, and I had so hoped there would be someone there — I couldn’t even face lighting the fire or cooking, so I put on my old tweed coat, ate cold baked beans with a spoon from the tin, and started the Xmas story.

I stayed up most of the night writing the story, and in the morning, when it got light, I felt very much better. It was one of those acts of grace, a thing that comes like a gift, and makes you feel you are not alone, not worthless, not lost.

The second story Winterson will publish this autumn is The Battle Of The Sun. It is set in 1600s London, and follows a young boy named Jack as he battles alongside dragons, knights and even Queen Elizabeth I. (You know her: The “virgin” queen. She was totally a lesbian, right?)

On her site, Winterson also spoke a little about The Battle of the Sun:

I finished it on my birthday last year, in Paris, where I was staying with Natalie Clein, the cellist whom I love. I do love her; it is sometimes as simple as that.

It sounds as if Winterson has had a tumultuous few years, but things are looking bright again: she’s found love, and later this year we’ll get three new creative works from her.

Do any of Winterson’s upcoming projects sound like something you’ll be into watching/reading?

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