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Lishai is a writer and educator currently based in Hamilton. For the last decade, she has designed and facilitated theatre and writing workshops in schools throughout Toronto, working extensively with The Toronto Public Library and The Toronto Public School Board. Her creative nonfiction won first place in The Malahat Review’s 2019 open season awards and her poetry came second place in The Vancouver Writers Fest Annual Contest in 2017. Her work has also been shortlisted for The Puritan Poetry Prize and Room Magazine’s Creative Nonfiction and Short Forms Contest. Recent publications include poetry and nonfiction in Middleground Magazine, The Malahat Review, Room Magazine and So To Speak Journal. She currently enjoys writing stories about runaway whales and ghost trains for her four-year-old.

Peel’s manuscript, “Motherhood & Other Mishaps,” is about the process of becoming a mother, rediscovering who she is now that she is accountable to another human life. Her writing explores themes of motherhood and mental illness, sisterhood and survival, domestic and state violence and its effects on mothering, and the unprecedented love that unfolds in the wake of new life.

Program History


I was deeply moved by Lishai Peel’s creative nonfiction manuscript. Peel explores motherhood from the perspective of both a mother and a child, and her profound reflections on how this experience is linked to our sense of belonging and identity are intelligent and original. The writing is heartfelt, haunting, and lyrical. This is a manuscript that takes countless risks, both in form, style, and theme. Lishai boldly tackles “big” topics such as mental illness, immigration and mother-daughter relationships, while also giving voice to the Jewish Indian experience, a small community whose story have yet to be told in literature. And she does all that with humanity, authenticity and heart.