Jeanette Winterson burns her own books in protest at ‘cosy little blurbs’

The author Jeanette Winterson has set fire to a pile of her newly republished books after saying she “hated the cosy little domestic blurbs” on them.

In a tweet on Friday night, the author defiantly wrote: “Absolutely hated the cosy little domestic blurbs on my new covers. Turned me into wimmins fiction of the worst kind! Nothing playful or strange or the ahead of time stuff that’s in there. So I set them on fire.”

With work exploring love, gender and sexual identity, Winterson wrote her first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, in 1985 at 23 and has since published more than a dozen books.

The newly republished Penguin books include Sexing the Cherry, initially published in 1990, Art and Lies in 1995 and The Powerbook in 2001. The Passion, her 1987 novel set in Napoleonic Europe, was also one of the republished titles, as was 1992’s Written on the Body.

Winterson was awarded an OBE in 2006 for her services to literature and is a professor of new writing at the University of Manchester.

Her Twitter followers broadly supported the decision to set fire to the books, with some saying that it was a way to “make a statement” and was a “total power move to burn your own,” while others praised the original covers that “sold the book”.

The writer Otegha K Uwagba tweeted about Winterson’s reaction to seeing the blurbs on her latest book covers, saying: “Also love that her tweet essentially summarises how she’d like her books to be described, look forward to seeing future editions. ‘Playful, strange, ahead of its time’ – Jeanette Winterson.”

However, some were less impressed by the waste of resources and the environmental impacts of book burning, with one saying it “creeps me out to see books burned for any reason”. Others questioned the lack of artistic control that Winterson implied in the creation of the blurbs, with one follower writing: “Did you not have any say in this? I find the idea of an author not having approval at your level utterly bizarre.”

Both Penguin and Jeanette Winterson have been contacted for a comment.