More About Me

25 Random Facts About Leila

1 I was brought up in Libya. (It’s in North Africa, next to Egypt, on the Mediterranean coast).

2 I’m half Bangladeshi and half English.

3 I live in Birmingham.

4 I went to boarding school for two years.

5 The first flat we lived in in Libya had cracks in the walls through which armies of ants invaded. I got on quite well with the ants, they were like pets. (Didn’t like the cockroaches, though. You had to stomp on them, it was disgusting).

6 When I was a teenager, my dad went to work in Malaysia and we went out to see him in the summer holidays. I found a really long, saw-edged tooth on the beach there. I still wonder if it came from a Monster of the Deep…

7 Once when I was little I went to Bangladesh to see my relatives and we went to Cox’s Bazaar beach. Someone made me a present of a dead horse-shoe crab. I really wanted to take it home on the plane but my parents said, no way.

8 If I had to give up either chocolate or tea, forever, I’d give up chocolate.

9 My favourite book is The Owl Service by Alan Garner.

10 I am married to a Danish saxophonist, who makes weird and wonderful music and we have one son.

11 I used to live in Brussels, which is actually a really cool city.

12 I used to work as a children’s bookseller, which is a wonderful job because you get to read all the new books.

13 I’m scared of flying, and of sharks. But not of flying sharks, because they don’t exist. (I hope).

14 My hair has grown an awful lot since that photo was taken.

15 I love sewing boxes. I’d like to collect them but so far I’ve only got two. As a collector, I lack motivation.

16 I spend lots of time in the south of Italy because some relatives live there. The Mediterranean is one of my favourite places, because you can climb on the rocks and go to the beach and explore ruins, and it’s almost always lovely and warm.

17 Another of my favourite places is Barnsley in Yorkshire. My gran used to live there. In the holidays we would go and see her and I would spent time in Barnsley library reading all the books we couldn’t get in Libya, and eating prawn cocktail crisps (which we couldn’t get in Libya, either).

18 I want to live in this house.

19 I have a pair of Authorial Socks that my friend knitted for me.

The stripes on Sock One are the barcode from CHIPS, BEANS AND LIMOUSINES. The stripes on Sock Two are the barcode from SOCKS, SHOCKS AND SECRETS.

20 I used to want to be an archaeologist, like Indiana Jones. I still do, to be honest. Here is a picture of me in a tomb! (Unfortunately it was raided by someone else, long before I got there).

21 I’ve got two Masters degrees, one in Children’s Literature and one in Writing.

22 I did have a small blue fish called Bob. But he tragically died.

23 I am such a bad swimmer that I can’t even do a length in an ordinary swimming pool.

24 Despite being 36 years old, I still can’t drive and go everywhere by bus, train or foot.

25 Being a writer is really hard in some ways, but it is still my dream job.

Here are some links to interviews and other features with me that are floating around the interweb:,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,3107/Itemid,99999999/

And a video interview made by Usborne for their Young Writers Award.


  1. Great blog, and I absolutely agree on The Owl Service.

  2. Just read “The seventh sanctuary”, by David Easterman. The female protagonist’s name is Leyla Rasheed. I thought it would be fun to google it and now, it turns out there is a writer whose name is Leila Rasheed. In addition, there is a high resemblance between you (at least your pics) and the mental image I have created for the character… Goosebumps 😀

  3. Hinna Hussain

    Hi leila,
    I have just finished reading your serious of Bathsheba books.
    I love the style of writing, as well as the humour included.
    I liked them so much that I decided to start my own book, inspired by yours.
    I would just like you to know that you are an inspirational character, to many children like me, as well as adults.

  4. Hi !

    I bought your book Cinders and Sapphires, and I just read it and I absolutely LOVED it! I am obsessed. I immediately went to Amazon to purchase the 2nd and 3rd in the series, but realized that you can only buy the 3rd as an ebook. Call me old fashioned, but I love to own the physical copies of my books. Is there any way to buy Emeralds and Ashes in its hardback form? I’ve been searching all across the internet, but I haven’t found a single copy.



  5. Carol A Carroll

    Just came across Diamonds and Deceit and read it in a few days. I’ve ordered Cinders & Sapphires from Amazon. Hope there will be more in this series. Loved the first I read!

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