Aliya Whiteley grew up in North Devon and developed an early passion for walking and observing nature. She has written about the natural world for Mental Floss and in her fiction, which has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award among others. Whiteley’s novella The Beauty depicted a future world in which a fungus interacts with humanity and creates a new form of life, leading readers all over the world to send her photographs and articles relating to mushrooms. Her new novel, Greensmith (2020), deals with seed banks and viruses and the current global threat to diversity. She walks through the woods and fields around her home in West Sussex every day, taking inspiration from the hidden worlds around her.