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Jeanette Winterson discusses her faith

14th December 2009

Jeanette Winterson has spoken of her spiritual and religious beliefs after bringing out an unorthodox interpretation of the nativity story.

Her Christmas offering, The Lion, the Unicorn and Me, is written from the perspective of the donkey at the nativity scene who gets the chance to carry Mary to Bethlehem after beating off competition from rival animals.

A humorous and witty account of the donkey's progress and concerns as he strives not to 'make an ass of himself', the book is illustrated by Rosalind MacCurrach and has been well received for its engaging but informative take on the Christian tale.

For Winterson, the book captures the sense of tradition, spirituality and story-telling which she feels makes Christmas special.

Describing herself as 'one of the faithful', Winterson does not, however, perceive herself as a Christian and said she is not part of any formal religion.

'I believe in God as highest value and I believe in a connection between all living things - humans, animals and the land,' she explained.

'We cannot know if God exists, but we can know what it is to want more than materialism and pragmatism.'

Winterson, who had a strict religious upbringing, is best known for her seminal work, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit.

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