Jef Kaminskyason Reynolds was tricked into being a writer. For years his aunt would only give him books for Christmas, ranging from Huck Finn, to Moby Dick. Year after year she’d disappoint him with a gift-wrapped book. He’d force a smile, and when no one was looking, Jason would toss that year’s “bad gift” on the shelf with the rest of them. Until the sixth grade, when he discovered poetry. It was then that his world was opened, and he went back and started tearing through all the dusty, stiffened books his aunt had given him, suddenly grateful for every page.

Jason went on to study at the University of Maryland where he earned a degree in English, with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric. During his graduation, the commencement speaker made it clear in his speech that with an English degree, you could only teach or go to law school, but to be a writer was as far-fetched as they come.

This, of course, fueled Jason’s fire, and shortly after he walked across that stage, he and his roommate ventured off to New York City, determined to be published. It was there where, in a strange turn of events, Jason met Joanna Cotler who agreed to publish his first book, co-written by friend and artist, Jason Douglas Griffin. That book, My Name is Jason. Mine Too, was published in 2009, and received two starred reviews, as well as a write-up in the Washington Post. His first novel, When I Was the Greatest, hit shelves in early 2014.

He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and is working harder than ever to make good “bad gifts” for young people.

Jason Reynolds is represented by Elena Giovinazzo.
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