Sally Cline (1938-2022)

Non-fiction writer, Short-story writer


Sally Cline, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, was born in London and held degrees and masters from Durham University and Lancaster University. She taught for many years at Cambridge University and lived in Cambridge for 34 years; in 2004 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for International Writing. For several years she was a judge and mentor on the Arts Council funded Escalator programme to help talented emerging writers. She was also a judge and mentor for the successful Gold Dust mentoring scheme. Sally was an award-winning biographer and fiction writer who completed a novel called ‘The Visitor’ at the same time as publishing her 11th book The Arvon Book of Life Writing (Bloomsbury 2010), co-authored with Carole Angier. The Arvon Book of Literary Non-Fiction, co-authored with Midge Gillies, was published by Bloomsbury in 2012; it was volume 3 of an 8 volume series of books about writing she co-edited for Bloomsbury. Her groundbreaking double biography of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett was also published in 2012. Her previous biographies were Radclyffe Hall: A Woman called John (shortlisted for the LAMBDA award) and Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise (John Murray 2002 Arcade 2012).

In 2004 Sally was the recipient of the Hawthornden Fellowship for Writing. That same year she won the Hosking Houses Trust Fellowship for a Woman Writer over 40. Her short fiction won the BBC Short Story Contest, a Raconteur Fiction Prize, was shortlisted for the Asham Short Story Award, and won several Arts Council bursaries. She was a prize winner in the UK New London Radio Playwriting Contest and scripted, co-produced and presented three radio documentaries based on her books.

Her non-fiction books included Couples: Scene from the Inside (Little Brown), Lifting the Taboo: Women Death and Dying (Little Brown), Women Celibacy and Passion (Andre Deutsch), Just Desserts: Women and Food (Andre Deutsch) and Reflecting Men at Twice their Natural Size (Andre Deutsch). She also edited and wrote an introduction for the Pandora edition of Mary Hays’ Memoirs of Emma Courtney and co-edited The Arvon Book of Crime Fiction, by Michele Spring and Laurie King (Bloomsbury). For her biographies and general non-fiction she won awards from the Society of Authors, Arts Council, Eastern Arts, British Academy, AHRB, and fellowships from Princeton University and the University of Texas (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center). She read and discussed her work at literary festivals including Hay-on-Wye, Cheltenham, Ways with Words, Dartington, the Sole Bay Literature Festival, and the Biographers Club. She served on the Women’s Committee of the Writers’ Guild, and was a member of PEN, the Society of Authors, the Royal Society of Literature, the Fawcett Club and the Women Writers Salon. A former Fleet street journalist and international stage director, Sally taught social and political science, life-writing, radio writing, short fiction, drama, English literature, and creative writing for UK and Canadian universities, colleges, festivals, workshops and prisons. Sally was Writer-in-Residence at Anglia Ruskin University and mentored for the MA in Creative Writing.

More from Sally Cline

Sally Cline
Image credit: Cambridge News

Sally Cline

Non-fiction writer, Short-story writer


  • Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Campus, 2005–2006
  • Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Campus, 2000–2003