Watch M.G. & Her Beetles On Springwatch Unsprung

Yesterday a dream of mine came true. I got to sit on hay bales with Chris Packham and talk about beetles! How good is that? Me, my beetles and my books were all featured on Springwatch Unsprung (June 14th). If you want to see how our chat went you can watch it on the iPlayer.

My fellow guest on the programme was the lovely Stephanie Coles. She is an utterly wonderful human being.

Me and Stephanie Coles on Springwatch Unsprung

Me and Stephanie Coles on Springwatch Unsprung

As well as the main show, I also got to appear on Brett Westward's red button programme in the afternoon, when Hector, my rainbow stag beetle, decided to show off and fly about the studio. You can watch that programme here.

The whole experience was a dream come true, but my favourite bit was Chris Packham's enthusiastic endorsement of the beetle books. I've watched him on TV since I was a teenager and he's a wildlife hero. Here are his hands clutching my book and meeting my beetles.

Hay Festival 2017

On the Starlight Stage at the Hay Festival 2017

On the Starlight Stage at the Hay Festival 2017

I love the Hay Festival. This year we put together a very special event with Dr Sarah Beynon and her Bug Farm beetles and insect chef Andy Holcroft. Together the three of us put on a bugtastic show to a sold out audience including Germaine Greer! The BBC were there, filming for a documentary on entomophagy, and every member of the audience got to try a cricket cookie and other delicious bugs. Truly a day to remember.

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Beetle Queen Book Launch at The Bug Farm

Dr Sarah Beynon and M. G. Leonard at The Bug Farm in Pembrokeshire.

Dr Sarah Beynon and M. G. Leonard at The Bug Farm in Pembrokeshire.

On Thursday 13th of April I travelled down to Pembrokeshire, with Sam, for the Welsh launch of Beetle Queen at Dr Beynon's Bug Farm. In case you didn't know, Dr Sarah Beynon is the entomologist who acts as scientific consultant to my Beetle Trilogy and she makes sure that all of my descriptions of beetles are correct. We delivered an event together at her wonderful farm. I read some of the new book to a gang of Welsh beetle boys and girls, signed some books and even a bag! This helped me work up an appetite, so I popped into The Grub Kitchen to sample the insect appetisers and the delicious bug burger. Once I'd eaten my fill, I visited the insect zoo to see my old friends in their tanks. Finally, I raided the Bug Farm's wonderful shop for a bag full of new beetle t-shirts. I can never have enough. It was a truly glorious day and the sun shone for us. I'm always sad to say goodbye to the Bug Farm because it's such a beautiful place. Sarah has become a good friend and all the people who work at the bug farm are awesome, but I know I'll be back soon to visit.

Beetle Queen has had a right royal launch in both London at the Royal National Theatre and Pembrokeshire at the majestic Bug Farm, now she's all yours!

Beetle Queen Book Launch at the National Theatre

Photo: Allan Hong

Photo: Allan Hong

On the 6th of April Beetle Queen was officially launched at the National Theatre in the Art of Make Believe exhibition. It was a wonderful night full of authors, publishing peeps and old friends and family. We celebrated the birth of my second book late into the night, and I did a good bit of speechificating and thanking of all the wonderful people who help my books find readers.

Here are some pictures from the evening, and you can see by the massive smile on my face that I'm excited about readers getting to read Beetle Queen. It's a book I am very proud of.

Waterstones announce their children's prize on Thursday 30th of March

I have all my fingers crossed for Beetle Boy in the run up to the Waterstones Prize announcement next week, but to remind you how wonderful all of the books in the short list are, they've made this great little video.