Gillian Karas was born in London where her grandparents had settled from Austria. She lived in Canada and New Zealand before marrying Jeremy Karas, a Czech migrant, and migrating to Mount Isa in 1959. In 1970 she moved to Buderim on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. She has been a committee member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW, Sunshine Coast Branch) and of the Society of Women Writers, and has won prizes in local literary competitions. For several years she has run the annual Sunshine Coast Short Story and Poetry Competition, and has edited volumes containing the winning stories and poems.
Karas's own literary output includes short stories, children's stories, articles and poems in a range of magazines and anthologies. She has published a book of poetry, a collection of children's stories and poems, and a book entitled Anything Can Happen in South America (1998). She has also co-authored her husband's autobiographical account of his escape from Czechoslovakia in 1949 and his subsequent arrival in Australia.