Life and education
Ping was born in Shanghai in 1957, and spent her childhood on an island of the People's Republic of China in the East China Sea. Despite having only a few years of primary education, she was admitted to Beijing University, from which she was awarded a BA in English Literature in 1984. Ping emigrated to the United States in the following year, obtaining her MA in English Literature from Long Island University in 1987. It was at LIU that a professor inspired her to write fiction. She obtained her PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University in 1999.
Ping is primarily a writer of fiction and poetry which is very strongly informed by her own life experiences. Her first publication was a collection of short stories, ''American Visa'', in 1994. She followed this up in 1996 with a novel, ''Foreign Devil''. Two poetry collections followed, ''Of Flesh & Spirit'' and ''The Magic Whip'' . In 2006 ''Emperor Dragon'', a traditional Chinese folk tale, was published. A second collection of short stories, ''The Last Communist Virgin'', was published in 2007.
Ping has published works of non-fiction as well. An expanded version of her doctoral disseration on foot-binding in China was published in 2000 as ''Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China''.
Ping has also edited and contributed to the translation of works from Chinese, such as an anthology of poetry from China, ''New Generation: Poetry from China Today'' , and ''Flames'', by Xue Di.
Ping's poetry, fiction and essays are frequently published in journals and anthologies.
Ping spent much of the 1990s as a writing instructor or poet in residence, and in 1999 obtained a position as assistant professor at Macalester College. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Macalester, and teaches courses in creative writing and poetry.
Ping has been the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the New York State Council for the Arts for poetry, and the Minnesota State Arts Board for fiction.