Gillian Slovo is a novelist, playwright, and memoirist. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1952 to Joe Slovo, of Jewish-Lithuanian family and leader of the South African Communist Party, and Ruth First, a Jewish anti-apartheid activist who was killed by a parcel bomb. Gillian Slovo has lived in London since 1964. After graduating from the University of Manchester in 1974, she has worked as a journalist, television producer, and writer. Her first novel was Morbid Symptoms (1984), followed by many more, including Red Dust (2000), Black Orchids (2008), and Ten Days (2016). For her novel Ice Road (2004), Slovo was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her family memoir Every Secret Thing: My Family, My Country (1997) was an international bestseller. With Victoria Brittain, she co-wrote the play Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom (2005), which was staged in theaters around the world. Her verbatim play The Riots, which evaluates the events of the 2011 England riots, premiered at the Tricycle Theatre in November 2011. Her edited interviews with female politicians was staged in the context of the Tricycle’s 2010 Women Power and Politics Season. In 2013, Slovo won the Golden PEN Award.
In 2019, together with Mike Leigh and more than 200 other Jewish members and supporters of the Labour Party, Slovo signed a letter in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, responding to charges of antisemitism in the Labour Party.