Wilson was born in the United States in California, but grew up near Toronto, Ontario. Apart from another short period in the early 1970s spent in Whittier, California, he has lived most of his life in Canada, and in 2007 he became a Canadian citizen. He resided for a while in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and briefly in Vancouver. Currently he lives with his wife Sharry in Concord, a neighbourhood of Vaughan, Ontario located north of Toronto. He has two sons, Paul and Devon.
His work has won the Hugo Award for Best Novel (for Spin), the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (for the novel The Chronoliths), the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (for the novelette "The Cartesian Theater"), three Prix Aurora Awards (for the novels Blind Lake and Darwinia, and the short work "The Perseids"), and the Philip K. Dick Award (for the novel Mysterium). Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America is a 2010 Hugo Award nominee in the Best Novel category.
In addition to the novels listed below, he is the author of the short-story collection The Perseids and Other Stories, set in Toronto. His first publication appeared in the February 1975 issue of Analog Science Fiction, under the name Bob Chuck Wilson.
Author Stephen King has called Wilson "probably the finest science-fiction author now writing".
Wilson's literary agent is Shawna McCarthy, and his most recent books (including Blind Lake, Spin, and Axis) have been edited by Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Tor Books.
Spin is the first book of a trilogy that continues in Axis and finishes with Vortex. Spin won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2006.
His novella Julian: A Christmas Story (2006) was published by PS Publishing in 2007 and was a finalist for the Hugo Award. A novel-length expansion, Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America was published by Tor in 2009.