Countdown to Muse 2022: Finding Your People by SJ Sindu

The Muse and the Marketplace 2022 is almost here! This year's conference is our first ever hybrid conference, taking place Wednesday, April 27th - Sunday, May 1st, with the Manuscript Mart taking place Wednesday, May 4th - Sunday, May 8th.

This year’s conference theme is “Finding Your People.” As writers, we may draft our work alone, but it takes many people to bring a creative project into the world — from family and friends, to fellow writers, instructors, publishing professionals, literary champions, and ultimately eager readers. Muse 2022 is celebrating all of the connections that enable and enrich our writing and literary lives. 

As we count down to the conference, we are asking presenters, agents, and editors to tell us about who has enabled or enriched their own writing or literary life, and how that relationship began. Our next presenter in the series is SJ Sindu, author of Marriage of a Thousand Lies, Blue-Skinned Gods, and, most recently, Dominant Genes.



It’s 2007. In the basement of an old college building in Lincoln, Nebraska, I’m discovering myself. My life will never be the same after the moments spent in this windowless room, a few hours a week over the course of the semester.

My instructor’s name is Timothy Schaffert, and he’s an author. He’s the person I want to become, and increasingly, I’m starting to think it’s possible. I sit at the front of the classroom every week, pencil in hand and a smile on my face. Afterwards, I bike back in the gathering prairie darkness to the house I share with my friends, where I’ll join the party that’s inevitably taking place without me.

Now, fifteen years later, I understand that magic happened in that classroom deep underground, capsuled from the rest of the world. Now, fifteen years later, I point to this class as the one that made me want to major in English, the one that made me pursue graduate degrees in English, the one that made me want to be a writer and a professor. Now, fifteen years later, Timothy Schaffert likes to say that he discovered me in that classroom, that he could see in a moment of clarity the kind of writer I would become.

I am forever grateful to those hours spent in a night class in a basement room in Andrews Hall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007 with Timothy Schaffert. He not only gave me a vision of the kind of writer I wanted to be, but also the kind of teacher I would try my hardest to channel. He taught me that a life of art, a life of the mind, is something worth aspiring to. Thank you, Tim.


SJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora author of two literary novels, two hybrid chapbooks, and two forthcoming graphic novels. Her first novel, Marriage of a Thousand Lies, won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award and her second novel, Blue-Skinned Gods, was published in November 2021. A 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, Sindu holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University. Sindu teaches at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Sindu’s newest work, a hybrid chapbook titled Dominant Genes, was published by Black Lawrence Press in February 2022. More at her website or @sjsindu on Twitter/Instagram.



You can catch SJ’s virtual craft discussion, "Manipulating Time in Narrative," via Hopin at Muse 2022 from 2:00pm - 3:15pm on April 30th. Don't wait! Register for the Muse and the Marketplace 2022 today.

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