Carolyn Ives Gilman's novella "The Ice Owl," in the 29th The Year's Best Science Fiction (Dozois, ed.) is a current Hugo finalist and was a Nebula finalist as well. Her latest novel is a two-book series, Isles of the Forsaken (ChiZine, 2011) and Ison of the Isles (2012), about culture clash and revolution in an enchantment-shrouded island nation. Her first novel, Halfway Human (Avon, 1998), was a Locus first novel and Tiptree finalist.

Her 2008 Nebula novella finalist Arkfall was reprinted by Phoenix Pick in 2010. Her collection Aliens of the Heart (Aqueduct, 2007) includes "Frost Painting" from the 15th Dozois Year's Best and "Okanoggan Falls" from the 24th; Aqueduct also published her novella Candle in a Bottle in 2006. "The Honeycrafters," in The Best from F&SF: A 45th Anniversary Anthology (Rusch and Ferman, eds.), was a 1991 Nebula novelette finalist, and her 1990 story "Angels Alone" became a 2009 Gaylactic Spectrum finalist when it was reprinted in Periphery: Erotic Lesbian Futures (Jamneck, ed.). "The Real Thing" appeared in the 19th Dozois Year's Best. Other short fiction has appeared in Full Spectrum 2 (Aronica, McCarthy, Stout, and LoBrutto, eds.), F&SF, Tales of the Unanticipated, I, and Realms of Fantasy.

In her professional career, Gilman is a historian specializing in 18th- and early 19th-century North American history, particularly frontier and Native history. She is currently working on a history of the American Revolution on the frontier. Her book Lewis and Clark: Across the Divide (Smithsonian, 2003), was featured by the History Book Club and Book of the Month Club. She has been a guest lecturer at the Library of Congress, Harvard University, and Monticello, and has been interviewed on All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, History Detectives, the History Channel, and countless local and regional television and radio shows. She lives in St. Louis and works for the Missouri History Museum as a historian and curator.