Beth Yahp was born in Malaysia to a Chinese father and a Thai-English mother. Her family lived in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. After her family emigrated to Australia, Yahp gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney.
She has written and published short stories in English, and has read on many public occasions. Her novel The Crocodile Fury, was published in 1992 to widespread acclaim. In 1993, she won a $10,000 fellowship for her novel The Water Trinket. In 1993 she was writer-in-community at the Marrickville Youth Resource Centre and subsequently edited two anthologies of her students' works. In 1994 she was one of six writers who contributed to the Sydney Festival's performance piece "Short Circuits". In 1995 she was writer-in-residence at the English Department of the University of Western Australia. In 1997 she commenced a regular rotational column in the Australian Magazine (a supplement to the Weekend Australian newspaper). She has collaborated also with composer Liza Lim for the writing of a libretto and has also worked as an editor.