Yumna Kassab has been bestowed with the distinguished title of Parramattas inaugural Laureate in Literature in Australia. This esteemed recognition, jointly announced by the Sydney Review of Books and the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University in collaboration with the City of Parramatta, marks a significant milestone in literary acknowledgement. As an accomplished fiction writer deeply rooted in the Parramatta region, in New South Wales, Australia.
Kassab is set to receive a substantial AU$ 50,000 stipend. This financial support is allocated for her ambitious project the creation of what she aptly describes as a “dictionary of Parramatta,” a literary endeavour that aims to intricately explore the complex histories and diverse communities within the city.
Kassab, known for her profound literary contributions, is not only a novelist but also a high school teacher, bringing a multifaceted perspective to her role as Parramatta Laureate. Her latest work, “The Lovers,” has garnered acclaim and was notably shortlisted for prestigious literary awards, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Prime Ministers Literary Award for Fiction, and the Victorian Premiers Award for Fiction. Building upon her success, Kassab envisions utilizing her laureateship to not only celebrate her own achievements but also to shine a spotlight on the wealth of talented writers already present in Parramatta.
She expresses her excitement for the opportunity, stating, It is a delight to be chosen as the Parramatta Laureate, and I cant wait to highlight what I love about the place I call home.
In addition to her literary pursuits, Kassab is committed to community engagement. She plans to conduct writing workshops involving local participants, fostering a creative environment and contributing to the cultivation of writing cultures within the region. Dr. James Jiang, Editor of the Sydney Review of Books, expresses enthusiasm for the collaboration, noting Kassabs exceptional talent, cosmopolitan sensibility, and civic-mindedness qualities that align seamlessly with the cultural aspirations of the city. This literary initiative, tailored to the aims of the Laureateship, is poised to not only elevate Yumna Kassab’s standing in the Australian literary landscape but also solidify Parramatta’s position as a vibrant hub for literary excellence and cultural celebration.