Known for her Surya trilogy and her Whitbred Prize-winning book Coram Boy, Gavin penned nearly fifty other acclaimed works of children's fiction between the late 1970s and the second decade of the 21st century.
Before beginning her literary career, she worked in the BBC's music division. She published her first book, The Magic Orange Tree and Other Stories, in 1979.
The first volume in her Grandpa Chatterji children's book series was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize in the 6-8-year-old-readers category.
The child of an Indian father and a British mother, she grew up in both of her parents' native countries. She published her debut work following the birth of her first child.
Nominated for their respective works Blackberry Blue and Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, Gavin and Latino-American writer Benjamin Alire Saenz were both finalists for the 2015 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.