Denise Chong was raised in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Chong was an economist with the Department of Finance in Ottawa and an economic advisor to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. After a trip to see her relatives in China, Chong wrote the story of her grandmother's horrific life as an adolescent concubine sold to an immigrant in Vancouver. The story first appeared in Saturday Night Magazine and was later expanded into its book form, The Concubine's Children. Chong is also the editor of The Penguin Anthology of Stories by Canadian Women.