Gillian Flynn
Flynn at the 52nd New York Film Festival, September 2014
Flynn at the 52nd New York Film Festival, September 2014
Born (1971-02-24) February 24, 1971 (age 52)
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • Author
  • screenwriter
Alma mater
Notable works
Brett Nolan
(m. 2007)

Gillian Schieber Flynn[1][2][3] (/ˈɡɪliən/;[4] born February 24, 1971) is an American author, screenwriter, and producer. She is known for writing the thriller and mystery novels, Sharp Objects (2006), Dark Places (2009), and Gone Girl (2012), which are all critically acclaimed.[5] Her books have been published in 40 languages[6] and according to The Washington Post, as of 2016 Gone Girl alone has sold more than 15 million copies.[7]

Flynn wrote the script for the 2014 film adaptation of Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher. For it she won the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, among others.

The author also wrote and produced the HBO limited series adaptation of Sharp Objects—for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Writers Guild of America Award—and co-wrote with director Steve McQueen the film Widows (2018).

Flynn also worked as a showrunner, writer, and executive producer on Amazon Prime Video's sci-fi thriller series Utopia (2020), which ran for one season.

She is currently writing her fourth novel; it is set to be published by Penguin Random House.[8]

Early life and education

Flynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in midtown Kansas City's Coleman Highlands neighborhood.[9][10] Both of her parents were professors at Metropolitan Community College–Penn Valley: her mother, Judith Ann (née Schieber), was a reading-comprehension professor, and her father, Edwin Matthew Flynn, was a film professor.[10][11][12][13] She has an older brother, Travis, who is a railroad machinist.[10] Her uncle is Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Schieber.[10] Flynn was "painfully shy" and found escape in reading and writing.[10] When she was growing up, Flynn's father would take her to watch horror movies.[10][11]

Flynn attended Bishop Miege High School and graduated in 1989.[10][14] As a young woman, she worked odd jobs which required her to do things such as dress up as a giant "yogurt cone who wore a tuxedo."[14][15]

She attended the University of Kansas, where she received her undergraduate degrees in English and journalism.[15] She spent two years in California, writing at a trade magazine for human resources professionals, before moving to Chicago and attending Northwestern University[14] for a master's degree at its Medill School of Journalism in 1997.[16][17] Flynn initially wanted to work as a police reporter, but she chose to focus on her own writing, as she discovered she had "no aptitude" for police reporting.[18][19]


After graduating from Northwestern, Flynn worked freelance briefly at U.S. News & World Report before being hired as a feature writer in 1998 at Entertainment Weekly.[10] She was promoted to television critic and wrote about films but was laid off in December 2008.[10][19][20][21]

She attributes her craft to her 15-some years in journalism. She said, "I could not have written a novel if I hadn't been a journalist first, because it taught me that there's no muse that's going to come down and bestow upon you the mood to write. You just have to do it. I'm definitely not precious."[22]

Some critics have accused Flynn of misogyny due to the often unflattering depiction of female characters in her books.[5] Flynn identifies as a feminist. She feels that feminism allows for women to be bad characters in literature. She states, "The one thing that really frustrates me is this idea that women are innately good, innately nurturing." Flynn also said people will dismiss "trampy, vampy, bitchy types – but there's still a big pushback against the idea that women can be just pragmatically evil, bad, and selfish."[5] In 2015, Flynn explained her decision to write cruel female characters, saying, "I've grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains – good, potent female villains."[23]

In 2021, it was announced that Flynn would be running a book imprint for the newly founded independent publisher Zando.[24][25]


When Flynn was working for Entertainment Weekly, she was also writing novels during her free time.[12] She has written three novels and one short story.

Comic book

Flynn was an avid reader of comic and graphic novels when she was a child.[38] She collaborated with illustrator Dave Gibbons and wrote a comic book story called Masks. It is part of the anthology series Dark Horse Presents and was published by Dark Horse Comics in February 2015.[39]

Television writing

Flynn was executive producer and cowriter, along with Marti Noxon, on the HBO adaptation of her novel Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams.[40] The miniseries was released in 2018 and received critical acclaim.

In February 2014, it was reported that Flynn would be writing the scripts for Utopia, an HBO drama series adapted from the acclaimed British series Utopia. The HBO series was to be directed and executive produced by David Fincher. In July 2015 the project was cancelled due to budget disputes between Fincher and HBO.[41][42] However, the project received second life at Amazon, with the streamer ordering the project to series with a 2020 release. Flynn wrote all eight episodes and served as the project's showrunner. Utopia was released on Amazon Prime Video on September 25, 2020.[43] In November 2020, the series was canceled after one season.[44]


For her Gone Girl screenplay, Flynn was nominated for the Golden Globe, Writers Guild of America Award and BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Flynn and filmmaker Steve McQueen co-wrote a film adaptation of the ITV series Widows. The film stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Daniel Kaluuya, and Robert Duvall, and was released in November 2018 to critical acclaim.[45]

Personal life

Flynn married lawyer Brett Nolan in 2007.[46] They met during graduate school at Northwestern,[47] and began a relationship in their thirties.[22] They have two children.[12][48] Their son Flynn was born in 2010 and their daughter Veronica was born in 2014.[49] They reside in Chicago.[5][50]






Year Title Credited as
Writer Producer Notes
2014 Gone Girl Yes No Directed by David Fincher
2018 Widows Yes No Co-wrote with director Steve McQueen


Year Title Credited as
Writer Executive producer Creator Showrunner Notes
2018 Sharp Objects Yes Yes No No Network: HBO
2020 Utopia Yes Yes Yes Yes Network: Amazon Prime Video

Awards and nominations



Film and TV

Gone Girl

Won (selected):

Nominations (selected):

Sharp Objects

Nominations (selected):


Nominations (selected):


  1. ^ "Perdida (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Gone Girl-Spanish Language) (Vintage Espanol) (2014)". Best Little Bookshop. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  2. ^ "Heridas abiertas: (Sharp Objects Spanish-language Edition)". Abebooks. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  3. ^ "Heridas Abiertas: (Sharp Objects Spanish-Language Edition)". Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  4. ^ "Gillian Flynn Talks About Dark Places". YouTube. Orion Publishing. September 25, 2009. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Burkeman, Oliver (May 1, 2013). "Gillian Flynn on her bestseller Gone Girl and accusations of misogyny". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Gillian Flynn". PRH Speakers Bureau. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  7. ^ "Meet the writers who still sell millions of books. Actually, hundreds of millions". The Washingtpon Post. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  8. ^ "Lena Waithe, Gillian Flynn to Become Book Publishers With Zando". New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  9. ^ McClurg, Jocelyn (September 27, 2006). "New voices: Gillian Flynn makes thriller debut". USA Today.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Paul, Steve (November 11, 2012). "Kansas City native Gillian Flynn emerges as a literary force with her twisted mystery 'Gone Girl'". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Parsi, Novid (February 7, 2013). "Gillian Flynn on Gone Girl – Interview". Time Out. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c Anolik, Lili (October 10, 2014). "Inside the Dangerous Mind of Gone Girl's Gillian Flynn I". Elle. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "Katherine J Crofford Family Home Page:Information about Edwin Matthew Flynn". Archived from the original on 2014-11-28. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  14. ^ a b c Lewis, Keith (October 20, 2013). "'Gone Girl' author talks about her Missouri roots". Southeast Missourian. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  15. ^ a b, Low Fat Designs – Healthy Website for Growing Businesses -. "About Gillian | Gillian Flynn". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2016-04-17. ((cite web)): |first= has generic name (help)
  16. ^ a b "Gillian Flynn wins with Sharp Objects". Crime Writers' Association. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2008.
  17. ^ Zakrzewski, Cat (October 1, 2012). "Medill alumna sells screen rights to best-selling novel". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  18. ^ Thigpen, David E. (October 29, 2006). "Police beat's loss is book readers' gain". Chicago Tribune.
  19. ^ a b Butta, Philup (January 25, 2011). "How a Medillian ended up writing about "Satanic Sacrifice"". North by Northwestern. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  20. ^ Thomas, Mike (July 16, 2012). "'Gone Girl' puts Chicago author Gillian Flynn in the thriller elite". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  21. ^ Nance, Kevin (July 28, 2012). "Peeking in Gillian Flynn's vault of horror". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  22. ^ a b Brockes, Emma (October 3, 2014). "The Gone Girl phenomenon: Gillian Flynn speaks out". The Guardian. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  23. ^ Flynn, Gillians (July 17, 2015). "I Was Not a Nice Little Girl…". Medium. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  24. ^ Milliot |, Jim. "Molly Stern Launches Zando". Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  25. ^ Evans |, Greg (21 September 2021). "Publisher Zando Announces Imprints From Lena Waithe and 'Gone Girl' Author Gillian Flynn". Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  26. ^ Charney, Noah (November 21, 2012). "Gillian Flynn: How I Write". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  27. ^ Li, Shirley (December 6, 2017). "Sharp Objects first look: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson bring Gillian Flynn's debut novel to life". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  28. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (7 February 2013). "Berlin TOLDJA! Charlize Theron Locked For 'Dark Places'".
  29. ^ Patten, Dominic (3 April 2013). "'Dark Places' Adds 'Jack The Giant Slayer's' Nicholas Hoult". Deadline Hollywood.
  30. ^ "Christina Hendricks In 'Dark Places': Actress To Portray Stripper In Adaptation Of Acclaimed Gillian Flynn Novel". Huffington Post. August 21, 2013.
  31. ^ Patten, Dominic (September 3, 2013). "UPDATE: 'Mad Men's Christina Hendricks Lands New 'Dark Places' Role". Deadline Hollywood.
  32. ^ Lee, Stephan (January 10, 2014). "'Dark Places' preview: Charlize Theron on playing the 'complicated' Libby Day". Entertainment Weekly.
  33. ^ a b Itzkoff, Dave (15 November 2012). "New Two-Book Deal for 'Gone Girl' Author Gillian Flynn". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  34. ^ Butler, Robert W. (September 27, 2014). "Author Gillian Flynn says filming 'Gone Girl' went much better than expected". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  35. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (November 30, 2012). "Hollywood's Most Powerful Authors: Gillian Flynn on Adapting 'Gone Girl,' Being Too 'Wimpy' for Crime Reporting and Her Best Advice to Writers (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  36. ^ "2015 Edgar Award Winners | Mystery Writers of America". Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  37. ^ "CHANEL Connects - Season 2, episode 6 - Emerald Fennell & Gillian Flynn, the Comedy in Tragedy". YouTube. Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  38. ^ Flynn, Gillian; Gibbons, Dave (April 25, 2014). "Weekend comics special: Gillian Flynn and Dave Gibbons". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  39. ^ Gustines, George Gene (November 11, 2014). "Gillian Flynn's Comic-Book Story". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ Daniel Holloway (2016-04-01). "HBO Orders 'Sharp Objects' Series Starring Amy Adams". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  41. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 12, 2014). "'Utopia' Remake From 'Gone Girl's' David Fincher, Gillian Flynn Gets HBO Series Order". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  42. ^ Zemler, Emily (November 17, 2014). "Did Gillian Flynn Have 'Full Frontal Ben' Written Into Her 'Gone Girl' Contract?". Elle. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  43. ^ Yang, Rachel (August 18, 2020). "Watch Rainn Wilson and John Cusack tackle a pandemic in Utopia trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  44. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (November 27, 2020). "'Utopia' Canceled at Amazon". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  45. ^ McNary, Dave (March 27, 2015). "Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen Partner on Heist Thriller". Variety. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  46. ^ "Sunday Morning: Gillian Flynn Female Characters & Gone Girl Movie". Archived from the original on October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  47. ^ Borrelli, Christopher (September 25, 2014). "'Gone Girl' author Gillian Flynn makes confident leap into screenwriting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  48. ^ Tauber, Michelle (October 3, 2014). "5 Things to Know About Gone Girl Author Gillian Flynn". People. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  49. ^ Tauber, Michelle (October 3, 2014). "5 Things to Know About Gone Girl Author Gillian Flynn". People. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  50. ^ Bhattacharji, Alex (2020-10-16). "Why Gillian Flynn Gets Her Best Writing Done After Midnight". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-09-26.
  51. ^ "Gone Girl - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  52. ^ "Sharp Objects - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  53. ^ "Widows - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved October 9, 2022.

Further reading