Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she received a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1949. Her parents were Russian-Jews who emigrated from the Ukraine to Canada, in part, to escape the pogroms that accompanied the Russian Civil War.
In 1956, Wiseman published her first novel, The Sacrifice, which won the Governor General's Award, Canada's most prestigious literary prize. Her only other novel, Crackpot, was published in 1974. Both novels deal with Jewish immigrant heritage, the struggle to survive the Depression and World War II, and the challenges the next generation faced in acculturating to Canadian society.
Wiseman also published plays, children's stories, essays, and other non-fiction. Her book, Old Woman at Play, examines and meditates on the creative process while paying tribute to Wiseman's mother and the dolls she made.
Wiseman was lifelong friends with Margaret Laurence, another Canadian author from Manitoba. Her nephew, Jacques Distler, is a theoretical physicist. She was an active and accessible Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor in her final years. At a campus rally against the First Gulf War, she read passionately a new poem denouncing war.
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