Jason Reynolds: ‘What’s unusual about my story is that I became a writer’

The American author on his gut response to a friend’s death, how to get young people reading, and the value of crochet

Jason Reynolds, a 34-year-old from Washington DC, didn’t grow up expecting to be a writer: indeed, he was 17 before he read a book from start to finish. But it might be his atypical background that allows him to connect so powerfully with teenage readers. He has published a dozen novels – mostly for young adults – in the US, has been a National Book award finalist and is a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list. He was also recently named on the Guardian’s Frederick Douglass 200 list, which honours the 200 living individuals who best embody the work and spirit of the American abolitionist and politician. Now one of Reynolds’s books, Long Way Down, is being released in the UK. Told in verse, ...

Jason Reynolds: ‘What’s unusual about my story is that I became a writer’

The American author on his gut response to a friend’s death, how to get young people reading, and the value of crochet

Jason Reynolds, a 34-year-old from Washington DC, didn’t grow up expecting to be a writer: indeed, he was 17 before he read a book from start to finish. But it might be his atypical background that allows him to connect so powerfully with teenage readers. He has published a dozen novels – mostly for young adults – in the US, has been a National Book award finalist and is a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list. He was also recently named on the Guardian’s Frederick Douglass 200 list, which honours the 200 living individuals who best embody the work and spirit of the American abolitionist and politician. Now one of Reynolds’s books, Long Way Down, is being released in the UK. Told in verse, ...

Tim Ferriss: ‘I’m a coyote, a merry prankster, a go-between’

With a new book of tips from billionaires and ‘world-class performers’ out now, the American self-help guru opens up about what motivates himTim Ferriss is one of our age’s most influential self-help gurus. The 39-year-old’s debut was the 2007 “life-hacking” bible, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich, which was initially rejected by more than 20 publishers. He followed that with The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef and his new book is another bestseller, Tools of Titans. In it, Ferriss distills the wisdom of 200 interviews with “world-class performers” such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Foxx and Malcolm Gladwell that were originally conducted for his podcast (now at more than 100 million downloads). Away from books, he has made a fortune as an angel investor in tech startups and holds a world record in tango. Why do you think your approach to self-help ...

Lynsey Hanley interview: ‘The idea that you could write books was just crackers’

The author of Respectable, a study of her experiences of the British class system, on climbing the social ladder

• Read an extract from Respectable hereIt’s almost a decade since your book Estates, An Intimate History. Has Respectable been difficult to write?
Well, it took nine years and it’s five years since my son was born. And when we found out I was going to have another baby, I thought, Right, I can’t shilly-shally any more. I’d spent such a long time trying to write a serious book. But as soon as I realised I had to get on with it, I became a lot more relaxed, writing about pop stars and Smash Hits – as long as there was a bit of serious, sociological stuff, too. Is the title a nod to the Mel and Kim song?
Not literally. Originally I wanted to call it Up the Hill ...