Mavis Cheek was born and grew up in Wimbledon. She failed her eleven plus twice and left school at sixteen with no academic qualifications and began her working life with art publishers Editions Alecto in London. After twelve happy years at Editions Alecto Mavis left to study at Hillcroft College, where she did a two year course in Art from 1976 to 1978 and graduated with a distinction. Shortly after this Mavis had a daughter and turned to a career in writing. Journalism and travel writing at first, then short stories, and eventually, in 1988, her novel Pause Between Acts was published and won the She/John Menzies First Novel Prize. Mavis has gone on to publish many more novels, teach creative writing, become the Founding President of the Marlborough Literature Festival and judge of the McKitterick Prize for first novels by authors over forty years old. Mavis now lives and works in Wiltshire.