Flynn at the 52nd New York Film Festival, September 2014
Gillian Schieber Flynn|
February 24, 1971
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Occupation||Author, screenwriter, comic book writer|
University of Kansas|
Medill School of Journalism
|Genre||Fiction, thriller, mystery|
Brett Nolan (m. 2007)
Gillian Schieber Flynn (//; born February 24, 1971) is an American writer. Flynn has published three novels, Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl, all three of which have been adapted for film or television. Flynn wrote the adaptations for the 2014 Gone Girl film and the HBO limited series Sharp Objects. She was formerly a television critic for Entertainment Weekly.
Early life and education
Flynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in midtown Kansas City's Coleman Highlands neighborhood. 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. She has an older brother, Travis, who is a railroad machinist. Her uncle is Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Schieber. Flynn was "painfully shy" and found escape in reading and writing. When she was growing up, Flynn's father would take her to watch horror movies.
Flynn attended Bishop Miege High School and graduated in 1989. As a teenager, she worked odd jobs which required her to do things such as dress up as a giant "yogurt cone who wore a tuxedo."
She attended the University of Kansas, where she received her undergraduate degrees in English and journalism. She spent two years in California, writing for a trade magazine for human resources professionals, before moving to Chicago and attending Northwestern University for a master's degree at its Medill School of Journalism in 1997. 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.
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. She was promoted to television critic and wrote about films but was laid off in December 2008.
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."
Some critics have accused Flynn of misogyny due to the often unflattering depiction of female characters in her books. 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". 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."
When Flynn was working for Entertainment Weekly, she was also writing novels during her free time. She has written three novels and one short story.
- Sharp Objects (2006) revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned to her hometown from St. Louis to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families, violence and self-harm. The book was partly inspired by Dennis Lehane's Mystic River. In 2007, the book was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories. Sharp Objects was adapted into a 2018 television miniseries, starring Amy Adams.
- Dark Places (2009) is about a woman who investigates whether or not her incarcerated brother was truly responsible for the murder of their family in the 1980s, which happened when she was a child during the era of panic about Satanic ritual abuse. Dark Places was adapted into a 2015 feature film, written and directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Flynn made a cameo appearance in the film.
- Gone Girl (2012) was released in June 2012 and concerns a husband who searches for his wife, who disappeared on their fifth wedding anniversary, while he comes under police scrutiny as the prime suspect. Flynn wrote the script for a film adaptation of Gone Girl after 20th Century Fox purchased the film rights for $1.5 million. The film was directed by David Fincher and was released on October 3, 2014 to critical acclaim. The novel was No. 1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list for eight weeks. Culture writer Dave Itzkoff wrote that the novel was, excepting books in the Fifty Shades trilogy, the biggest literary phenomenon of 2012. By the end of that year, Gone Girl had sold over two million copies in print and digital editions, according to the book's publisher.
- The Grownup (2015) was released in 2015; it was originally published as a short story in the 2014 anthology Rogues, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, under the title "What Do You Do?". The story is about a sex worker who becomes an aura reader and is then hired by a woman with a failing marriage and a disturbing stepson to purify her Victorian home. The story won an Edgar Award in 2015 for best short story.
Comic book writing
Flynn was an avid reader of comic and graphic novels when she was a child. 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.
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. However, the project received second life at Amazon, with the streamer ordering the project to series with a 2019 release. Flynn penned all nine hours and will serve as the project's showrunner.
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 is set to star Viola Davis and will be released in November 2018.
She married lawyer Brett Nolan in 2007 and they have two children. Their son Flynn was born in 2010 and their daughter Veronica was born August 6, 2014. They met through a grad school classmate at Northwestern, but did not start dating until she moved back to Chicago from New York City in her mid-30s. As of at least 2013, they reside in Chicago.
Awards and nominations
- "Be kind to people dressed as food ("Costume drama")". The New Yorker. Work for Hire. Oct 10, 2016. p. 78.
In the late eighties, my job involved going out in public dressed as a tuxedoed dairy product. Children ran from me.
- "Perdida (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Gone Girl-Spanish Language) (Vintage Espanol) (2014)". Best Little Bookshop. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- "Heridas abiertas: (Sharp Objects Spanish-language Edition)". Abebooks. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- "Heridas Abiertas: (Sharp Objects Spanish-Language Edition)". Rediff.com. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- "Gillian Flynn Talks About Dark Places". YouTube. Orion Publishing. September 25, 2009. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- Burkeman, Oliver (May 1, 2013). "Gillian Flynn on her bestseller Gone Girl and accusations of misogyny". The Guardian.
- "Author Gillian Flynn finds 'Dark Places' in KC". Retrieved June 1, 2009.[dead link]
- McClurg, Jocelyn (September 27, 2006). "New voices: Gillian Flynn makes thriller debut". USA Today.
- 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.
- Parsi, Novid (February 7, 2013). "Gillian Flynn on Gone Girl - Interview". Time Out. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Anolik, Lili (October 10, 2014). "Inside the Dangerous Mind of Gone Girl's Gillian Flynn I". Elle. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-28. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
- Lewis, Keith (October 20, 2013). "'Gone Girl' author talks about her Missouri roots". Southeast Missourian. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- LowFatDesigns.com, Low Fat Designs - Healthy Website for Growing Businesses -. "About Gillian | Gillian Flynn". gillian-flynn.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- "Gillian Flynn wins with Sharp Objects". Crime Writers' Association. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2008.
- Zakrzewski, Cat (October 1, 2012). "Medill alumna sells screen rights to best-selling novel". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Thigpen, David E. (October 29, 2006). "Police beat's loss is book readers' gain". Chicago Tribune.
- Butta, Philup (January 25, 2011). "How a Medillian ended up writing about "Satanic Sacrifice"". North by Northwestern. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Thomas, Mike (July 16, 2012). "'Gone Girl' puts Chicago author Gillian Flynn in the thriller elite". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Nance, Kevin (July 28, 2012). "Peeking in Gillian Flynn's vault of horror". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Brockes, Emma (October 3, 2014). "The Gone Girl phenomenon: Gillian Flynn speaks out". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- Flynn, Gillians (July 17, 2015). "I Was Not a Nice Little Girl…". Medium.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
- Charney, Noah (November 21, 2012). "Gillian Flynn: How I Write". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Lee, Stephan (January 10, 2014). "'Dark Places' preview: Charlize Theron on playing the 'complicated' Libby Day". Entertainment Weekly.
- 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.
- 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.
- Itzkoff, Dave (15 November 2012). "New Two-Book Deal for 'Gone Girl' Author Gillian Flynn". NewYorkTimes.com. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Flynn, Gillian; Gibbons, Dave (April 25, 2014). "Weekend comics special: Gillian Flynn and Dave Gibbons". UK: The Guardian. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- Gustines, George Gene (November 11, 2014). "Gillian Flynn's Comic-Book Story". The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- 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.
- Zemler, Emily (November 17, 2014). "Did Gillian Flynn Have 'Full Frontal Ben' Written Into Her 'Gone Girl' Contract?". Elle. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
- Daniel Holloway (2016-04-01). "HBO Orders 'Sharp Objects' Series Starring Amy Adams". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
- Dave McNary (2015-03-27). "Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen Partner on Heist Thriller". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
- "Sunday Morning: Gillian Flynn Female Characters & Gone Girl Movie". ReCapo.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Tauber, Michelle (October 3, 2014). "5 Things to Know About Gone Girl Author Gillian Flynn". People. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- Tauber, Michelle (October 3, 2014). "5 Things to Know About Gone Girl Author Gillian Flynn". People. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Borrelli, Christopher (September 25, 2014). "'Gone Girl' author Gillian Flynn makes confident leap into screenwriting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
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