Award winning writer, community engaged artist and consultant, Lishai Peel has over a decade of experience working in the arts and culturesector in Toronto. Alongside being a working artist, Lishai has worked with various institutions and youth serving organizations, supporting them to think through matters of access, representation and equity in the arts.
Lishai's approach is fuelled by a recognition that people know what is best for their communities and any work that is carried out, programming or advocacy, must be deeply rooted in local contexts.
As a spoken word artist, Lishai has performed in over 300 venues across the country. Her voice and poetry has also been featured in multiple campaigns which were broadcasted nationally on MTV and Bell Media.
She was the co-founder of Ink Veins: Young Women's Writing Collective and the co-author of a graphic novel, Why Birds and Wolves Don't Trade Stones, illustrated by artist David Brame. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with dancers and musicians through various projects. In 2014, she released an album entitled From Here On, with her long-time collaborator, musician and composer Waleed Abdulhamid.
Mentorship plays a central role in Lishai's artistic practice. Not only has she mentored countless youth and emerging writers, she herself has also been mentored by some of Canada's greatest writers and performers. In her early days as a performer, Lishai was mentored by Dwayne Morgan, d'bi young anitafrika, Sheri-D Wilson, and Catherine Hernandez. Lishai's creative nonfiction projects have been supported by Alicia Elliott (through Room Magazine) and Ayelet Tsabari (through the Writers' Trust of Canada). Alessandra Naccarrato has acted as a poetry editor and mentor. While completing a graduate certificate in creative writing at Humber College, Karen Connelly was Lishai's mentor and Kyo Maclear was her thesis advisor during her MFA program.
Lishai has an MFA in creative writing from Guelph University and currently works as the ED of gritLIT, Hamilton's literary festival.