Marié Heese was born on 27 September 1942 in Cape Town, the daughter of Audrey Blignault and Andries Blignault.
She studied at the Universities of Stellenbosch and South Africa (Unisa) and holds the following diplomas and degrees:
Higher Education Diploma, Teacher's Licentiate in Speech and Drama, Diploma in Drama (Akademie vir Dramakuns, Stellenbosch)
BA (English and Political Philosophy), BA HONS (English) (cum laude), MA (English) (cum laude) and D Litt et Phil (English, Topic of thesis: Facilitating English reading competence through text analysis)
She taught at Empangeni High School and at Richards Bay High. Her subjects were Afrikaans and English, both as mother tongue and as second language. She lectured at the Universities of Durban-Westville, Zululand and Pretoria, and at the University of South Africa (Unisa), where she transferred from the Dept of English to the then Bureau for University Teaching headed first by Prof David Adey and later by Prof Paul Steyn. There she was involved with student support, academic staff development and the development of study materials for distance learning. At her early retirement in 1999, she held the post of Director of Academic Matters.
Marié is married to Chris Heese. Marié and Chris had three children, Fritz, Adré and Andries. To their enduring sorrow, they lost their youngest son, Andries, in 1999. Andries was depressive and took his own life.
Marié and Chris currently live in Stilbaai and the Little Karoo, where they grow roses, olives and almonds.
Since taking early retirement, Marié Heese has free-lanced as an educational consultant and workshop presenter. In 2001, she and Chris spent six months in Eritrea, working for their Ministry of Health to establish a distance learning centre for students of nursing science. Marié has worked closely with Unisa's Graduate School for Business Leadership, and has done work for Wits, International Training in Communication, Readucate and the Northern Cape Dept of Education.In 2007, she presented a three-day orientation workshop to prospective MBL students in Ethiopia. She examines at doctoral level in the fields of English, Linguistics and Education for various institutions.
In March 2008 she was elected to the Council of the University of Stellenbosch. However, in 2009 she resigned in frustration due to differences with the US management regarding Afrikaans language rights.
Marié Heese wrote her first book in collaboration with her colleague, Robin Lawton: The Owl Critic, a reference book, published in 1968 which, for over 31 years, was never out of print.
In 1967, when her father died in a car accident and her mother was in hospital, Marié was asked by Sarie Marais to stand in for her mother as a writer of essays. A collection of her essays, Tokkelspel, was later published by Tafelberg.
She has contributed to various short story collections, including Dit kom van ver af, edited by TT Cloete.
She is especially well known as the author of Die uurwerk kantel, an adult novel, which was first published in 1976 and republished as a classic in 2006. This novel has been adapted for the radio and for the stage, and was voted one of the best books of the 20th century by library readers in the Western Cape. A new stage adaptation was presented at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria in 2011.
The Owl Critic, with Robin Lawton, (guide to literary criticism), 1968
Revised version: The New Owl Critic, 1988
Practical Guide to Reading, Thinking and Writing Skills, with Pieter du Toit and Margaret Orr, republished by Oxford University Press, 2000