Gwen Li was born in Hunan province in mainland China, and moved to Taiwan with her parents. She grew up in Chia-Yi, Taiwan, and earned a B.S degree from National Taiwan University in Taipei. After graduation, she immigrated to the United States to go to Rutgers University.
With a long-standing interest in literature, she always had a plethora of ideas for stories and novels about the lives of Chinese immigrants in the United States. In 1993, she retired early from her job at Estee Lauder Inc. on Long Island and moved to Florida, where she focused more of her energy on writing stories gleaned from her own experiences and the experiences of her close friends and families.
She has served as the Secretary General for the Oversea Chinese Women Writers Association from 2006, 2008 and 2014. Currently, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is working on translation of her Short stories into English.