Born in Sentjur, a small town in southeastern Slovenia, in 1928, Pavcek moved to Ljubljana at the age of 16 and graduated from law school in 1954.
He soon established that law was not his true calling, so he devoted himself to journalism and culture. He went on to become editor-in-chief of publisher Cankarjeva zalozba from 1972 to 1990 and head of the Slovenian Writers' Association (DSP) from 1979 to 1983.
Throughout his life, he was devoted to literature both as poet and author of children's books, as well as translator. Especially important are his translations of Russian literature.
Together with poets Janez Menart, Ciril Zlobec and Kajetan Kovic, he issued a collection of poems "Pesmi stirih" (The Poems of the Four) in 1953, which marked a shift from collectivism into intimism in Slovenian poetry of the 20th century.
"The Poems of the Four" has a special place among Slovenian readers of poetry, which holds true for numerous other Pavcek's poetry collections as well, including "Poganske hvalnice" (Pagan Hymns), "Dediscina" (Heritage), "Upocasnitve" (Slow Downs) and "Same pesmi o ljubezni" (Love Poems Only).
He was also very popular with the younger readers, and will be remembered for the character of Juri Muri from fairy tale "Juri Muri v Afriki" (Juri Muri in Africa), which recently got its sequel "Juri Muri po Sloveniji" (Juri Muri around Slovenia).
Pavcek's works, for which he received a number of awards, including three Levstik awards for lifetime achievement and the Preseren Prize, the highest national commendation for a Slovenian artist, are marked by vitalism and a positive attitude towards life.