Winsome Pinnock was born in Islington, North London, to parents who were both migrants from Smithville, Jamaica. Her mother was a cleaner and her father a checker at Smithfield Meat Market. Pinnock attended Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Comprehensive Girls' School (formerly Starcross School) in Islington and graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London (1979–82), with a BA (Joint Honours) in English and Drama and from Birkbeck, University of London (1983), with an MA in Modern Literature in English.
Pinnock's award-winning plays include The Wind of Change (Half Moon Theatre, 1987), Leave Taking (Liverpool Playhouse Studio and National Theatre, 1988), Picture Palace (commissioned by the Women's Theatre Group, 1988), A Hero's Welcome (Women's Playhouse Trust at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 1989), A Rock in Water (Royal Court Young People's Theatre at the Theatre Upstairs, 1989; inspired by the life of Claudia Jones), Talking in Tongues (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 1991), Mules (Clean Break Theatre Company, 1996) and One Under (Tricycle Theatre, 2005).
Pinnock has been Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway College, and Senior Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University. She lectures at Kingston University, London. Whilst at university, she continues her inspirational teachings and informed opinions through the use of intelligent and inimitable methods. Students have described her as: "A fantastic writer who is a pleasure to work with."
- 1991 George Devine Award
- Unity Theatre Trust Award
- Pearson Plays on Stage Award For Best Play of the Year
- The Winds Of Change, Half Moon Theatre, London, 1987.
- Leave Taking, Playhouse, Liverpool, and National Theatre, 1988.
- Picture Palace, Women's Theatre Group, London, 1988.
- A Rock In Water, Royal Court Young People's Theatre at the Theatre Upstairs, London, 1989. Published in Black Plays: 2, ed. Yvonne Brewster, London: Methuen Drama, 1989.
- A Hero's Welcome, Women's Playhouse Trust at the Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1989.
- Talking In Tongues, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, 1991. Published in The Methuen Drama Book of Plays by Black British Writers, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2011, ISBN 978-1408131244
- Mules, Clean Break Theatre Company, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1996
- Untitled, Cottesloe Theatre, National Theatre, London, 1999
- Water, Tricycle Theatre, London, 2000.
- One Under, Tricycle Theatre, London, 2005.
- IDP, Tricycle Theatre, London, 2006
- Taken, Soho Theatre, London, 2010.
- Her Father's Daughter, BBC Radio 4.
- The Dinner Party, BBC Radio 4.
- Lazarus, BBC Radio 3, 2013.
- Michael Earley, Philippa Keil, eds. (1995). "Talking in Tongues". The Contemporary Monologue: Women. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-87830-060-0.
- Lynette Goddard, "West Indies vs England in Winsome Pinnock's Migration narratives", Contemporary Theatre Review, Volume 14, Issue 4, 2004, pp. 23-33. DOI:10.1080/10486800412331296291
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston University London.
- Elaine Aston (2003). Feminist Views on the English Stage: Women Playwrights, 1990-2000. Cambridge University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-521-80003-7.
- D. Keith Peacock, "Chapter 9: So People Know We're Here: Black Theatre in Britain" in Thatcher's Theatre: British Theatre and Drama in the Eighties, Greenwood Press, 1999, p. 179.
- "Winsome Pinnock", Drama Online.
- Winsome Pinnock page at Doolee.com.
- Griffin, Gabrielle (2006), "The Remains of the British Empire: The Plays of Winsome Pinnock", in Luckhurst, Mary, A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama, ISBN 978-1-4051-2228-3
- "Bibliography: Winsome Pinnock", Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English
- IDP - A play by Winsome Pinnock
- Winsome Pinnock on Internet Movie Database
- "Writer Winsome Pinnock on why she enjoyed writing Lazarus for radio", BBC Radio 3.
- "Something to be Reclaimed" (first published 1999). Jim Mulligan interviews Winsome Pinnock on Can You Keep a Secret? The collected interviews of Jim Mulligan.
- Winsome Pinnock on how Feminism influenced her writing. 1976–2014, Black Plays at the National Theatre.