Esther Cheo Ying was born in Shanghai in 1932. From the age of six she spent her childhood in England but returned to China at seventeen. In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, then in the New China News Agency and on Peking Radio, she saw the New China in the making - from the inside.
Eleven years later she returned to Britain and became a teacher. For many years until retirement she was head of a primary school in the West Country. She and her journalist husband then moved back to the outskirts of London to be near their children and grandchildren. Her hobbies include sculpture, writing and walking and her daughter Polly is a successful author.