Tamar Yellin was born in the north of England. Her father was a third generation Jerusalemite and her mother the daughter of a Polish immigrant. She began writing fiction at an early age, and the creative tension between her Jewish heritage and her Yorkshire roots has informed much of her work. She received the Pusey and Ellerton Prize for Biblical Hebrew from Oxford University, and has worked as a teacher and lecturer in Judaism. Her first novel, The Genizah at the House of Shepher, appeared from The Toby Press in 2005 and was awarded the Sami Rohr Prize, the Ribalow Prize and was shortlisted for the Wingate Prize. Her collection, Kafka in Brontëland and other stories, appeared from Toby in 2006 and was awarded the Reform Judaism Prize, was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and was a finalist for the Edge Hill Prize. Her third book, Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes, appeared from Toby Press in 2008.

Tamar Yellin lives in Yorkshire.