s.j. sindu

SJ Sindu, Ph.D.

Job title: Assistant Professor
Affiliation: Department of English

Sindu's research interests include queer studies, postcolonial studies and critical theory.

SJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora author of two literary novels, two hybrid chapbooks and two forthcoming graphic novels. Sindu’s first novel, “Marriage of a Thousand Lies,” won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award and their second novel, “Blue-Skinned Gods,” was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Sindu holds a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University and teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

Q&A with Dr. Sindu

Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a little about your educational journey?

I was born in Sri Lanka and lived in the north/northeast regions until I was seven years old, when I moved to Amherst, Massachusetts. Since then I've lived pretty much everywhere. I started as a computer science major in university, but in my second semester, I took a creative writing class and fell in love. I've never looked back.

When did you first fall in love with your field of study? What made you decide to work in academia?

Ever since I learned English when I was seven years old, I've been writing and reading. I knew I always wanted to be involved in the creation of stories. But I didn't pursue writing seriously until I started taking creative writing courses as an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I decided to work in academia because I wanted a creative life of the mind, to be a part of a vibrant intellectual community of artists and scholars, and to teach new generations of writers.

Can you explain the focus of your research?

I write mostly novels (prose and graphic), but also dabble in hybrid work, creative nonfiction, short stories, poetry, etc. On the scholarship side, I'm interested in queer studies, postcolonial studies and critical theory.

What attracted you to VCU? What are you most excited about in regards to VCU and Richmond?

I'm excited to teach in an MFA program and work with graduate students. Richmond also seems like a weird place (weird in all the good ways!) and I'm excited to get to know the city more.

Can you talk a little about your teaching philosophy? What do you most like about teaching?

I have a student-centered approach, and like to involve students in their own learning. I also try my hardest to include diverse perspectives, approaches and readings. So much of learning is unlearning, and I make space for that unlearning in the classroom.

Can you tell us either a quirky fact about yourself or some of your hobbies?

I like beer brewing, bespoke gift wrapping and I'm trying to get into gardening.