Meiling Jin was born in Guyana in 1956. Her parents left there at the height of the racial conflicts of 1964 and came to London. She writes of her initial unhappiness in England, the persecution she and her sister suffered as the only Chinese children in her school.
Her first publication was Gifts from My Grandmother, a collection of poetry which explores her Guyanese-Chinese roots, published by Sheba in 1986. She has also written stories for children. Her first collection of stories, Song of the Boatwoman was published by Peepal Tree in 1996.