Leila Rasheed writes literature for children and teenagers. Her first book, Chips, Beans and Limousines, was published by Usborne in 2008 and won a Red House Read of the Year award. As well as her own books, she has written publisher-led fiction for Working Partners and Disney-Hyperion. In 2019, her forthcoming projects included a contribution to the decolonised curriculum, The Smiling Stones, which tells the story of early Egyptology from the point of view of an Egyptian child, and two books for Scholastic UK: a biography of the NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and a novel about a girl who travels from Leptis Magna to Britain in the late Roman period.
In addition to writing, Leila teaches creative writing in universities. In 2015, responding to the well-documented lack of non-white voices, and presence of structural racism in British children’s literature, she set up Megaphone, a one-year mentoring and development course for ethnic minority writers for children. As a result of Megaphone, five new writers from ethnic minorities secured agent representation and publication. In 2019, she was featured in Breaking New Ground, a round-up of British writers of colour produced by Book Trust and Speaking Volumes.
Leila is British-Bangladeshi, but spent her childhood in Libya and Barnsley. As an adult she lived in Brussels for several years. She is married to a Dane and lives in Birmingham. Interests outside children’s literature include the experience of ethnic minority people across Europe, creative nonfiction and the pedagogy of creative writing.