Gary Younge | ‘It didn’t take any special powers… anybody could’ve done this’


On 12th June 2016, the world witnessed what many US media outlets were calling the “most deadly shooting in US history”, when a gunman walked into a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed at least 49 people, injuring a further 53.

It is in times such as this that the world takes notice, but in the US, on average, seven children are shot dead every day. In Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber, September), journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of 10 youths who were killed on just one of these days: 23rd November 2013. “Whenever there is a big mass shooting, like Columbine or Sandy Hook, then America pays attention, but most kids that are shot dead are killed on a daily basis,” Younge says.


Richard Reed | ‘It’s been a pretty enriching experience’


Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, ascribes the success of the multimillion- pound business to the way the brand’s “joyfulness, creativity and friendliness” managed to “connect with people”. The same could be said for Reed himself, whose exuberance, excitement and genuine interest in the people around him has enabled him to compile a collection of the best advice from some of the most “remarkable people” in the world.

Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené | ‘Just because something is by black women and about black women, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be mainstream’


First published in The Bookseller magazine in 2018. 

“You have to work twice as hard to get half as much as your white counterparts.” That’s the mantra—or warning—that is drilled into black British children by our parents. From a very early age we’re aware that due to a crippling mix of structural inequality, unconscious bias and racial micro-aggressions, this is the unstable foundation upon which we will attempt to build careers, relationships and lives. For black women, we also have to grapple with the intersections between our blackness and our womanhood.

Enter Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible by best friends Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, which says to black women they are valued and have within them the tools they need to survive and thrive in society, by laying out the stories of the phenomenal women who have gone before them, including book trade figures Margaret Busby, Malorie Blackman and Sharmaine Lovegrove, as well as media figures such as June Sarpong, Charlene White and Clara Amfo.

Alexander McCall Smith | ‘You have to know the places you’re writing about’


Alexander McCall Smith is a man of many talents. Trained in medical law, he published his first non-academic book—children’s title The White Hippo (Hamish Hamilton)—in 1980, and until 2015 was a professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh. He is now emeritus professor. A prolific writer, last year he worked on no fewer than seven separate projects; one of them was writing a libretto for an opera.

Nicola Sturgeon | ‘It’s essential to ensure you are constantly questioning and challenging yourself’


Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been a staunch supporter of the book trade and arts overall since she began her role in 2014. After first launching a reading challenge for primary schools with Scottish BookTrust in 2016, this year the initiative is expanding to include secondary schools. With much of her days spent dealing with governmental issues, the First Minister still finds time to participate in the book trade, from visiting schools and libraries to interviewing high-profile authors and sharing book recommendations on Twitter. We spoke to her about her involvement in the trade, Brexit and her reading tastes.