Barry Cunningham and M.G. Leonard Talk Books (and Beetles!)

Episode 23 · October 5th, 2016 · 36 mins 19 secs

About this Episode

15 years ago, Scholastic partnered with Chicken House, a publishing company based in the UK begun by publisher Barry Cunningham. In this episode, Barry, perhaps best-known for being the original acquiring editor of a little book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the U.K., shares his vision of book publishing and talks about the state of the industry. He's joined by Chicken House author M.G. Leonard, writer of Beetle Boy, who regales listeners with her story of writing children's books about creepy-crawlies...while being utterly terrified of them.  


  • Barry Cunningham is the founder of Chicken House, a lively and creative company publishing highly original and enjoyable children’s books, with a special emphasis on new fiction. Chicken House launched in the US in 2001 and marked its 15th anniversary here this past summer. Barry is also known for signing up J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while at Bloomsbury. Together with Chicken House and Scholastic, Barry is proud to have brought the voices of five-time New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke (The Thief Lord; Dragon Rider; the Inkheart trilogy), Printz Honor Award-winning Lucy Christopher (Stolen), Kevin Brooks (Martyn Pig; Lucas; Candy), Rachel Ward (Numbers trilogy), Cathryn Constable (The Wolf Princess), and M.G. Leonard (Beetle Boy) to the world.
  • M. G. Leonard is the senior digital media producer at Britain’s National Theatre where she creates podcasts and documentaries about theater. Beetle Boy is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. Leonard lives in Brighton, England with her family. Please visit her online at

Additional resources:

Special thanks:

  • Music composed by Lucas Elliot Eberl
  • Sound mix and editing by Daniel Jordan and Christopher Johnson
  • Produced by Morgan Baden