Place of birth
Place of residence
United Kingdom
National identity
United Kingdom

Meiling Jin

Short biography
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 salvation came at the age of around ten, from discovering the local children’s library, which she devoured, reading the books from left to right, but missing Enid Blyton because her books were kept to the far right of the librarian’s counter, by which point she ‘was already making a strange and sudden leap’ to Coleridge, Shaw and Wordsworth - and learning chunks of ‘The Ancient Mariner’ by heart. Later inspirations were Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Kitty Tsui and Alice Walker. 

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. 

In 1981 she visited China for the first time and was deeply affected by the experience. She has a black belt in karate and enjoys T’ai Chi.

A professional radio broadcaster, Meiling is also a film maker. She is currently producing her own play, Where the Bee Sucks, working on a radio soap opera set in Hackney and writing a new play. She currently lives in London.