Benjamin Markovits (1973) grew up in London, Oxford, Texas and Berlin. He left an unpromising career as a professional basketball player to study the Romantics. Since then he has taught high-school English, worked at a left-wing cultural magazine and published six novels, including a trilogy on the life of Lord Byron. Markovits has lived in London since 2000 and is married, with a daughter and a son. He teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. ‘You Don’t Have to Live Like This’ is an excerpt from his new novel, about a group of university friends who get involved in a scheme to regenerate Detroit.