Author of eight poetry collections, a translation of Kalidasa's works and a translation of the Bhagavad Gita as a poem, Rao has had poems published in literary journals including Fulcrum, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Washington Square, West Coast Line, Tinfish, and in anthologies including Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008), The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. (Bloodaxe Books, 2008) and The Dance of the Peacock. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Iowa International Writing Program in 2005 and 2009, and held the 2006 University of Iowa International Programs writer-in-residence fellowship. She completed MFA from university of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was a co-founder of OutLoud, a regular poetry-reading gathering, in Hong Kong, and contributed a poetry segment to RTHK Radio 4. Translations of Rao's poems have been published in Latin, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, French and German. She has performed at literary festivals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne, Vancouver, Chicago, and at the 2006 New York PEN World Voices. Rao worked in advertising and television from 1985 to 2004, and was the Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Star (TV) Group Ltd., based in Hong Kong. She was born in India and moved to Hong Kong in 1993. She has an MFA from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and has a PhD in religious studies from Duke University.