'Fight for creativity in society' says Winterson

'Fight for creativity in society' says Winterson

The UK's current society is a “necrophiliac hell hole for the absent rich” that is “stealing creativity from us”, Jeanette Winterson has said.

Speaking at London Book Fair last week during a session at the English PEN Literary Salon, Winterson said that the current economic climate was forcing young people out of cities and preventing the facilitation of creativity.

“Young people can’t afford to live in the cities, can’t afford to rent spaces, it’s just becoming some gated necrophiliac hell-hole for the absent rich”, she said. “We’ve got an issue here because the heart of humanity is creativity. Everyone in their own way, in different dilutions, everybody is creative. We have to fight for it because we are surround by governments and non-elected corporations who don’t want creativity who just want us all to be like miserable zombies.”

Winterson also said it was important to facilitate creativity in schools for children.

“It’s in every child and it’s hard wired,” the Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (Vintage) author said. “It’s the human birth right and we knock it out of them in schools, then we wonder where the heart's gone, where the joy’s gone, where the life’s gone, and where the love's gone.”

Winterson also discussed her reasons for choosing "A Winter's Tale" as her "cover version" for the Hogarth Shakespeare project, which sees a series of novelists putting their own spin on Shakespeare's world-famous plays. "For me it had to be 'A Winter’s Tale' because of this abandoned baby at the shining centre", she said. "I’m a foundling, I’m an orphan, it's as autobiographical as that. We go to the stories that have resonances to us. As a kid I kept on reading this play, looking for clues, looking for a way out.”

She also added that "A Winter's Tale" was unique in its presentation of women.

She said: “This is a story that has an abandoned baby at the shining centre that allows for forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation to happen at the end of the play. At the end of his life, Shakespeare was absolutely sick of seeing his heroines die during the fallout of the hero’s soul. There were too many dead women on Shakespeare’s stages. What you see at the end of "A Winter’s Tale" is not one woman alive, not two women alive, but three women of different generations alive on the stage and between them they have managed to circumvent the usual consequences of male rage. The women win the day."

Manchester-born Winterson OBE, who has won a Whitbread Prize for First Novel, is also a passionate campaigner against the closure of libraries.

Picture: © Peter Peitsch