Gillian Flynn was born February 24, 1971 in Kansas City, Missouri to parents who were teachers at a community college. Her mother taught reading and her father, a horror movie buff taught film and allowed Gillian to watch horror movies such as Psycho at a very young age.
Gillian was an avid reader as a child. After high school, she attended the University of Kansas, receiving degrees in English and Journalism.
For two years, Gillian worked as a journalist for a trade magazine in California, then left for Chicago, where she earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She'd hoped to become a crime reporter, but while she was doing her assignments, concluded the profession wasn't for her, because she felt she didn't have the knack of asking the right questions when a crime occurred.
Gillian then moved to New York, where she spent 10 years working as a pop culture writer for Entertainment Weekly. As part of her job, she traveled to various movie sets and critiqued TV shows.
Gillian’s first novel, Sharp Objects, debuted in 2006 and won several literary awards. It was followed by her second book, Dark Places, in 2008. The novel was about a young woman who, as a child, witnessed the murder of her mother and sisters.
In 2009, Gillian lost her job at Entertainment Weekly due to budget cutbacks. When her third novel, Gone Girl, released in 2012, 20th Century Fox immediately bought the film rights. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller, while the movie, released in 2014, starred Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and earned numerous awards, including an Oscar nomination for Rosamund.
Gillian, who adapted the novel into a screenplay herself, won several awards, including two from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. She also received a Golden Globe nomination for her screenplay.
The movie rights to her first and second novels have also been sold. The film adaptation of Dark Places stars Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult.
In 2007, Gillian married lawyer Brett Nolan. They have two children: son Flynn (born 2010) and daughter Vivian (born 2014). Gillian and her family live in a Victorian house in Chicago.