Gillian K. Ferguson was born in Edinburgh. She gained an honours degree in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh, then worked as a tutor in arts at the Open University before moving into journalism. She was for some years a columnist and reviewer at The Scotsman, and a feature writer and critic for Scotland on Sunday and was editor of that newspaper's youth edition. She wrote a humorous column for the Financial Times magazine, and contributed to John Peel’s Radio 4 programme, Home Truths. For nine years she was media consultant for Save the Children Scotland and worked in a similar capacity for other charities.
Ferguson's first book of poems, Air for Sleeping Fish, was published by Bloodaxe in 1997 and was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year award. Baby was published by Canongate in 2001. In 2002 Ferguson received a Creative Scotland Award to work on The Human Genome: poems on the book of life , a digital four-part work inspired by the human genetic code and published on the internet to critical acclaim. A further bursary resulted in Flora, a collection of poems exploring the genetic connection between man and flowering plants.
In 2015 Gillian Ferguson suffered a major stroke. She is currently in the process of recovery.