Yumna Kassab was born and raised in Western Sydney. She completed her schooling in Parramatta, except for two formative years when she lived in Lebanon with her family. She went on to study medical science at Macquarie University and neuroscience at Sydney University. She currently teaches in regional New South Wales.
Her debut collection of short stories The House of Youssef visits contemporary themes around diaspora such as generational disconnect, cultural loss and the weight of familial expectations in the distinct Lebanese-Australian social milieu of western Sydney. The House of Youssef portrays the lives of Lebanese immigrants, and their families. The stories are told with an extreme economy – some are only two pages long – and a spareness of detail which heightens their emotional intensity.
The House of Youssef has been long listed for the 2020 Stella Prize, an award that celebrates women’s writing.