Mavis Cheek (1948-2023)



Mavis Cheek was published by both Faber & Faber and Hutchinson in the UK and Europe. Starting in 1988, she published 15 novels, many short stories, much journalism, including travel pieces for both The Times, The Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph and made several radio adaptations. Mavis was committed to literacy programmes and was a member of International PEN’s executive committee, which organised and funded programmes in schools. She also taught writing groups in both Holloway and Erlestoke prisons on a voluntary basis. In 1993 she was made a Fellow of MacDowell in the USA. She also taught creative writing for the Arvon Foundation at its Ted Hughes Centres in Yorkshire, Devon, Wales and Scotland.

Mavis failed her eleven plus (twice) and left school at sixteen with no qualifications. She began working in the contemporary Alecto Gallery in London with artists such as David Hockney and Bridget Riley. She left Alecto after twelve happy years to become a mature student at Hillcroft College for Women from where she graduated in Arts with distinction.

After her daughter, Bella, was born, Mavis began her writing career in earnest. Her novel Pause Between Acts was published by Bodley Head in 1988 and won the She/John Menzies First Novel Prize. Several short story awards followed and she was one of the prize-winners in the SAGA Prize for novels of wit and wisdom. Her novels include Janice Gentle Gets Sexy, Mrs Fytton’s Country Life and Amenable Women. Her novel, The Lovers of Pound Hill, was published in 2011 by Hutchinson. She was the founding Chair of the Marlborough LitFest whose aim is to put literature, rather than celebrity, back at the heart of literature festivals.

More from Mavis Cheek

Image Credit: Jane Bown

Mavis Cheek



  • University of Chichester, 2011–2012
  • University of Reading, 2007–2008
  • University of Chichester, 2006–2007