Cherise Saywell was born in Lismore NSW and grew up in Casino. She studied English and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland and then travelled to the UK for a holiday that accidentally became more permanent. She worked as an academic researcher and then in television production before the birth of her first child when she began writing fiction.
Cherise won the VS Pritchett Prize for her short story Beef Queen in 2003 and was awarded a Scottish Arts Council New Writer Bursary in the same year. She was a runner up in the Asham Award in 2009, collecting the third prize for her story, The Candle Garden. Her short stories have appeared in The London Magazine, New Writing Scotland, Carve Magazine and alongside stories by Margaret Atwood and Yiyun Li, in the Asham Award collection, Waving at the Gardener (Bloomsbury, 2009).
Desert Fish, Cherise’s first novel emerged out of a desire to try out a longer form, growing from an idea that couldn’t be confined to the parameters of a short story. It was also a way of reconnecting with some of places that resonated from childhood. Cherise was awarded an Arts Council Bursary in 2007 to complete Desert Fish, and is currently working on a second novel, Twitcher.