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Mameve Medwed, Cambridge novelist and writing teacher, dies at 79

Novelist Mameve Medwed in the third floor study of her Cambridge home in 2018.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Mameve Medwed, a novelist, critic, and essayist whose novels included “Mail” and “How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life,” died Sunday in the Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln of metastatic lung cancer.

She was 79 and had lived for many years in Cambridge.

Praised by one critic as an author with a “light touch and irrepressible sense of humor,” Ms. Medwed championed writers whose work, like hers, makes people smile.

“I would love to make a little campaign for the comic novel because I always feel that people who write funny stuff are considered sort of, you know, light — l-i-t-e — and are relegated to the children’s table,” she said in a 2015 interview with the Globe. “All of us who write comedy deal with the same stuff that the deep, heavy, dark people staring in the abyss deal with: love, friendship, death, sorrow, all those things. We just look at it in a skewed way.”


Born in Bangor, Maine, Ms. Medwed was sometimes dubbed “Bangor’s other novelist” — as in the one who isn’t Stephen King.

Her characters often dwelled in Cambridge and her home state, and Ms. Medwed’s own life provided rich material for autobiographical essays, some of which she published in the Globe.

“My mom was like her writing — beautiful and elegant and larger than life,” said Ms. Medwed’s son Daniel, who lives in Cambridge.

Ms. Medwed’s husband, Howard Medwed, died in 2019.

In addition to Daniel, she leaves her other son, Jonathan of New York City; her sister, Robie Rogge of New York City; and four grandchildren.

A memorial gathering to celebrate Ms. Medwed’s life and work will be announced.

A full obituary will follow.

Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@globe.com.