Lavinia Greenlaw was born in London, where she has lived for most of her life. She studied 17th-century art at the Courtauld Institute, and was awarded a NESTA fellowship to pursue her interest in vision, travel and perception. Her poetry includes Minsk, which was shortlisted for the TS Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry Prizes. She has also published novels and works of non-fiction which include The Importance of Music to Girls, Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland, and Audio Obscura. She has won a number of prizes and has held residencies at the Science Museum and the Royal Society of Medicine. Her work for BBC radio includes programmes about the Arctic, the Baltic, Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop.