Poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw was born in London in 1962. She read Modern Arts at Kingston Polytechnic, studied Publishing at the London College of Printing and has an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute. She has worked as an editor at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and for the publishers Allison & Busby.
She was an arts administrator at the South Bank Centre and for the London Arts Board before becoming a freelance writer, reviewer and broadcaster in 1994. She has been Writer in Residence at the Science Museum, Reader in Residence at the Royal Festival Hall, London and was Poet in Residence at a firm of solicitors in London. She is a regular reviewer and contributor to newspapers, magazines and journals including the Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman, and her work has been broadcast by BBC radio and television.
Lavinia Greenlaw was British Council Fellow in Writing at Amherst College, Massachusetts in 1995 and was awarded an Arts Council Writers' Award in 1995, a Wingate Scholarship in 1997 and a three-year fellowship by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in 2000. She was awarded an Eric Gregory Award in 1990.
Her published poetry includes the collections Night Photograph (1993), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award and Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year), and A World Where News Travelled Slowly (1997). The title poem won the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem). Her book, Thoughts of a Night Sea (2003), is a collaboration with abstract photographer Garry Fabian Miller, whose pictures prompted Greenlaw's meditations on his imaginary world. Her third collection, Minsk, (2003), was shortlisted for the 2003 T. S. Eliot Prize.
Her first novel, Mary George of Allnorthover (2001), set in England in the 1970s, was awarded the 2003 Prix du Premier Roman (France). Her latest books are An Irresponsible Age (2006), a second novel set in London in the 1990s; and The Importance of Music to Girls (2007), a memoir about the place music has played in her own life.
Lavinia Greenlaw lives in London.