I was born in Oxford and grew up in Edinburgh and Southampton, where I attended Hampton Park Comprehensive School and Richard Taunton College. I read Mathematics and Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Oxford university. I also edited Cherwell, the student paper. After graduating, I joined the Brighton Evening Argus as a trainee reporter. I moved to London and after freelancing for many newspapers and magazines, the Guardian gave me a job in its newsroom. Eventually, I ended up as the paper’s South America correspondent in Rio de Janeiro. During five years in Brazil I wrote Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life, and also presented the BBC TV series Inside Out Brazil. My return to the UK was also a return to mathematics. Alex’s Adventures in Numberland was published in 2010 and Alex Through the Looking-Glass in 2014. In 2015 I started a fortnightly puzzle column in the Guardian.