Cleland Smith



Angela Cleland

Her poems are skilful, witty and inventive, and her oblique approach pierces the heart of life - Moniza Alvi



Looking for information on my debut novel Sequela? You want


Audio is up and running on the poems page now. Yay!


As you'll have spotted if you've been to my site before, I've been doing a little updating (let me know what you think!) Please bear with me while any glitches and so on are sorted out.


Hi. I'm Angela Cleland. I was born in Inverness in 1977 and grew up in Dingwall by the Cromarty Firth. I started writing stories and poems before I could spell properly and was soon amassing jotters full of them. At secondary school I was lucky enough to have an inspirational English teacher, Elizabeth Leghorn, who spurred me on in my creative writing. In my final year I won the Scotsman School Magazine Prize for Best Poem for ‘Love Poem', which was later anthologised in La Creme de la Creme: The Best Creative Writing from Scottish Schools 1991-2001.

In 1995 I moved to Glasgow where I studied at the University of Glasgow for my MA in English Language and Literature. I started to think more seriously about my own writing during my final year of study and shortly after graduating had poems published in print magazines The Rue Bella and Braquemard. Encouraged by this bright start, I spent the next couple of years working and saving to study for an MA in writing. In 2003 I moved to London to study at Goldsmiths College London for my Masters in Creative and Life Writing, where I was lucky enough to be tutored by Lavinia Greenlaw, Maurice Riordan and Stephen Knight.

Following my Masters, I started working with Nelson Croom Ltd, designing, editing and overseeing the production of their award-winning elearning courses. This brought me into contact with a wide range of subject matter experts from the fields of finance, implant dentistry, jewellery and all things in between. Whilst working there I continued to do the rounds at London's open mic nights and performed in featured slots at nights such as Utter and Shortfuse. Meanwhile on the page my poetry was appearing in a variety of magazines including Smiths KnollThe RialtoBrittle Star and The Interpreter's House. I started to put together a manuscript and in 2006 was one of the three winners of the Templar Poetry Pamphlet and Collection Competition with my pamphlet Waiting to Burn. In 2007 I published my first full collection, And in Here the Menagerie. The poem ‘Peeling’ from this collection was Highly Commended in the Forward Book of Poetry 2008. 

I continued to work at Nelson Croom until 2010 when I left to start a family. My second collection has come together over the past few years against a backdrop of getting married, moving away from London, travelling to Peru and becoming a parent. I now live in Surrey with my husband Matthew, two young sons Jacob and Cameron, and my cat Loki.

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