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Yumna Kassab

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. In 2019, she published with Giramondo her short story collection, The House of Youssef. In 2023, she became the inaugural Parramatta Laureate in Literature.


The House of Youssef

Yumna Kassab

288 pages
Paperback, 19.7 x 13 cm
Published September 2019
ISBN 9781925818192

Yumna Kassab’s debut collection of short stories is remarkable for its minimalism. Set in the suburbs of Western Sydney, it portrays the lives of Lebanese immigrants and their families. The stories revolve around their hopes and regrets, their feelings of isolation, and their nostalgia for what they might have lost or left behind. In particular, The House of Youssef is about relationships, and the customs which complicate them: children growing away from their parents, parents anxious about their children’s futures, the intricacies of marriage, the breakable bonds of friendship. The stories are told with an extreme economy – some are only two pages long – and a spareness of detail which heightens their emotional intensity.