Grace McCleen was raised in a fundamentalist religion and for a lot of her life did not have much contact with unbelievers. Initially itending to be a full-time evangeliser when she left school, she applied to university at the prompting of an English teacher, and despite opposition from within the organization. Rejected by most universities because she had only two 'A' Levels, she was made an unconditional offer by the University of Oxford on the strength of her submissions. She read English Literature and Language there and was awarded a Double First, after which she was funded by the A.H.R.C. to study at York University, where she completed an M.A. by Research on T. S. Eliot, for which she was awarded Distinction.
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Most of the work on this website Grace created while recovering from an illness following her M.A. Part of that work turned out to be three novels: The
readings from the novels
Land of Decoration (published in 2012), The Professor of Poetry (published in 2013), and The Offering (published in 2015). Grace's work has been translated into over twenty languages and she is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes, including the Desmond Elliott Prize and Betty Trask Award. She is published by Sceptre, Chatto & Windus and internationally. Her work has been optioned, dramatized and broadcast. You can hear Grace read from the novels by clicking on the icon on the left.
Grace lives in London. She periodically reviews fiction for a variety of publications including The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The T.L.S. and The Observer.
In 2016 she was the Bronte writer-in-residence at the Parsonage Museum in Hawroth, producing a collection of poetry, excerpts of which can be veiwed on this website.
In 2017 Grace was a writer-in-residence at the Centre for New Writing in Manchester University.