Fae Myenne Ng's parents immigrated to the United States from Guangzhou, China. Ng's father worked as a merchant seaman and as a cook at a University of California, Berkeley, fraternity house, and her mother was a seamstress. Their jobs supported Ng and her brother. Ng grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown, and as a child she went to Chinese school every day after her regular school day. She spoke Cantonese at home and helped her mother with the sewing. She received her B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley and her M.F.A. from Columbia University. Since 1989, she has lived in Brooklyn, New York, where she worked as a waitress and in other temporary jobs to support herself while working on her first novel, Bone. It took her ten years and many drafts to complete that novel. She is currently working on a second novel, tentatively titled The Cat King, the Cantonese/ Chinese name for Elvis Presley.
Ng received many awards and writing grants for Bone, including the Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and so forth. In 1996, Ng was named by Granta, the London-based literary magazine, as one of the top twenty “Best of Young American Novelists of 1996.” Bone was translated into Spanish (Un padre de papel) and published in Barcelona in 1995. Ng's short story “A Red Sweater, ” has been included in several anthologies, including Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction, Forever Sisters: Famous Writers Celebrate the Power of Sisterhood with Short Stories, Essays, and Memoirs, and The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing.