I was asked, by my Russian publishers, to make a video from my writing desk about Beetle Queen, and then I realised that I hadn't made any kind of video for English readers about what kind of an adventure Beetle Queen is, so I made this for you. See if you can spot my beetle, Motty!
I am delighted to be able to share the news that Beetle Boy has been shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017, along with Cogheart, Riverkeep, We are Giants, Little Bits of Sky, The Bubble Boy and The Girl of Ink and Stars. Find out more.
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!
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.
To celebrate the publication of Beetle Queen I decided to read the first chapter live on Periscope to anyone who fancied a beetle-y bedtime story. It was a bit of an experiment, but people seem to have enjoyed it, so I may well do it again.
If you'd like to watch it, you still can on catch-up.
Beetle Queen is published on 6 April, so I thought I would celebrate by reading you and your children a bedtime story the night before it lands in shops. The reading will be broadcast live on periscope, and then left their to view on catch-up.
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.
Those of you who've been patiently waiting for the sequel to Beetle Boy, you need wait no longer. An exclusive edition of Beetle Queen has been made available early to Waterstones ONLY to sell in March. However the stock has already landed in stores, it's on tables right now and selling like hot cakes!
The Waterstones edition of Beetle Queen will be the only one to have the yellow and black polka dot edges, and once they've sold out, there'll be no more printed. So, hurry, get down to Waterstones and grab a copy quick before they sell out.
Today I'm struck dumb with gratitude by the news that my debut novel, Beetle Boy, has been selected for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist.
It was in my school library and then my local library in Hemel Hempstead, that I discovered who I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. It was librarians who helped me navigate the multitudinous shelves and pressed Alan Garner, Ursula Le Guin, Susan Cooper and Mervyn Peake into my hands. These books of high adventure and difficult choices helped me discover my own moral compass, and my visits to their worlds fired up my imagination. Libraries are a haven, a school, a parent and one of my most trusted friends. I am honoured beyond description to be on the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist. Thank-you to librarians everywhere. I owe you everything.
Here is the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist (alphabetical by surname):
Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare (Firefly Press)
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Pan Macmillan)
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s Books)
How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster)
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber & Faber)
Whisper to Me by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard (Chicken House)
The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard (Old Barn Books)
Pax by Sara Pennypacker (HarperCollins)
Railhead by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff (Walker Books)
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)
The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Puffin)
Island by Nicky Singer (Caboodle Books)
Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo (Oxford University Press)
Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Corgi)
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Andersen Press)
For more information, here's the full press release.
The Branford Boase Award was set up to reward the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing. The Award is made annually to the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist. You can read the full list and find out more here.
Beetle Boy has been selected for the longlist of twenty wonderful titles, and I'm delighted about this because it gives me an opportunity to celebrate the work of my incredible editors. Let me introduce you to them. They help me make the Beetle Trilogy the best it can be.
My senior editor is Barry Cunningham OBE. He's famous for discovering, publishing and editing J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. He's also the man that read the Beetle Boy manuscript and offered me a publishing deal before I had an agent. I take all my hats off to this man.
Rachel Leyshon is the Editorial Director at Chicken House and the editor who has the most hands on dealings with editing my books, taking me through copy edits, proof edits and a million other tiny details. She's the one who listens to my groans and talks me through my tangles and I love her for that. She's calm, clever and a joy to work with.