M. G. Leonard is an award-winning, bestselling writer of children’s books. Her books have been translated into over forty languages and she is currently writing the screenplay for a TV series based on the Beetle Boy trilogy. She and her beetles have appeared on Blue Peter, Springwatch Unsprung, Countryfile, Meet the Author with James Naughtie, Sky News, and featured in the BBC documentary, The Bug Couple. Her newest project is Adventures on Trains.

Maya lives in Brighton with her husband, two sons and pet beetles. She spent her early career in the music industry running Setanta Records, an independent record label and managing bands, most notably The Divine Comedy. After leaving the music industry, she trained as an actor, dabbling in directing and producing as well as performing, before becoming a digital producer for Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and Harry Potter West End.

Maya is one of the founding authors of #Authors4Oceans, with Lauren St John, campaigning to reduce single-use plastics.


Hello, my name is Maya

I live in a wonderful place called Brighton, in England, situated between the sea and the South Downs. It's beautiful, and so are the people. 

I love listening to music. Every moment of my life has a song, every day a soundtrack. If I'm writing, I'm usually listening to Philip Glass or Max Richter.

My real name is Maya Gabrielle but my pen name is M. G. Leonard. I created a pen name because my eldest son and I don’t share a surname, and I made him a promise that if my books got published I’d take his middle name as my pen surname. I think it is important to keep promises. When you talk to me, call me Maya. When talking about my writing, please call me M. G. Leonard. Thanks.

I was born in Torquay in Devon, and I wrote my first book at the age of twelve, about a witch whose spells backfired. I write every day, usually early in the morning, or on the train into London, or in the Dyke Park Cafe with a view of the sea.

My stories are for young people, or people who are young at heart, who embrace nature and its wild and crazy majesty. But right now, for me, it’s beetles that are blowing my mind. There isn’t anything as wild, crazy or majestic as the beetle.

And yes it's true that I used to be scared of insects, but now, I love them and have lots of pet beetles.

Above, The Royal Ballet Company and legendary choreographer Peter Wright, after a performance of Giselle with Beetle Boy.

Right, Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy with Maya in 1996, shooting the cover image for the album Casanova. Photo: Kevin Westenberg

“IT’S FAB! Beetle Boy is full of musty professors, hideous villains, secret hideouts and heroic insects... I can’t wait for the next one!”
— Neil Hannon, The Divine Comedy