Hong Ying was born in Chongqing, China in 1962, towards the end of the Great Leap Forward during the Cultural Revolution. She began to write at eighteen, leaving home shortly afterwards to spend the next ten years moving around China, exploring her voice as a writer in poems and short stories. After periods of study at the Lu Xun Academy in Beijing and Shanghai's Fudan University, Hong Ying moved to London in 1991 where she established herself as an international writer. She returned to Beijing in 2000. Hong Ying is best known in English for the novels K: the Art of Love, Summer of Betrayal, Peacock Cries, and her autobiography Daughter of the River. She has been published in twenty-nine languages and has appeared on the bestseller lists of numerous countries. Many of her books have been or are now in the process of being turned into television series and films, for example, Lord of Shanghai. In her work, she likes to focus on human stories, hardship and history. Her responsibility as a writer, she believes, is in part to explore the lives of marginalised groups struggling for visibility - and compassion - in contemporary China.