Apply to Present at Muse 2020 [Deadline Passed]

We invite all interested writers, authors, literary agents, editors, and publishing experts to apply to present at the Muse & the Marketplace 2020, taking place April 3rd-5th in Boston, MA.

All Muse presenters enjoy tuition-free conference sessions, keynotes, and special events, and receive a small thank-you honorarium. Please know that while we accept proposals from applicants living any distance from Boston, our travel funds are quite limited.

The deadline to apply to be a Presenter at Muse 2020 was Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 at 11:59pm ET.

What We Want

Our conference offers two kinds of session topics: "Muse" topics, which focus on the craft of fiction and/or nonfiction, and "Marketplace" topics, which focus on elements of publishing. We seek thoughtfully-designed sessions that examine a familiar topic in a new way, OR a new or overlooked topic in a clear and compelling way. Innovation, rigor, and generosity of spirit are key.

We want interactive sessions that actively engage us writers in discussion or debate, get us writing in-class, or introduce us to an interesting genre or approach to publishing. Think of this as a teaching laboratory-- a place to explore an idea you've been kicking around. Or as a place to show off how clearly and compellingly you can present a complex topic. We encourage you to review the 2019 sessions; each year, we seek a mix of both classic and new ideas.

Muse-goers want to study diverse texts. If you'll be referencing published pieces in your session(s), please select authors from a diverse group of ethnicities, races, genders, countries, literary traditions, and/or time periods.

We want presenters from a rich and diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and literary traditions. We seek those who genuinely enjoy teaching, and who are actively submitting and publishing stories and essays. If you have a(nother) book coming out in the next year or so, that's a bonus, but not required.

What We Don't Want

In a word: panels. We find that format tired, and suspect that you have, too. At the 2020 conference, we will offer only solo presentations and those co-led by no more than two presenters.

Your session will likely flow from your work or experience – and will likely inspire book sales and even post-conference business – but this is NOT the place to hawk your book, or audition for new clients. We are not interested in sessions that are thinly-veiled advertisements for your fiction, nonfiction, or publishing-related services.

Session Formats

  1. Presenters read from prepared notes for approximately 30-45 minutes (or longer), leaving the balance of the session for Q&A.
  2. Lecture topics can include close-readings, literary analyses, explications of craft issues, arguments for or against certain modes in fiction or non-fiction, etc.
  3. Lecture can include a reading of the presenter’s own fiction or nonfiction, but the reading should take minimal time and be meant to demonstrate an idea or issue. Please include some context for the reading (i.e. insights into the construction of the text or the questions it raises, before and/or after).
  4. Lecture can include elements of the other two types of sessions: i.e. a discussion of a contrasting text, a guided writing exercise based on the issues raised in the lecture, etc.
  1. Presenters briefly introduce/explicate a craft (or publishing) topic and then facilitate a discussion of that topic.
  2. The class should be audience-focused, inspiring students to wrestle with a short text (or texts) through the lens of the craft or publishing topic. The presenter is mainly responsible for asking the right questions and providing enough context for the conversation to be meaningful and illuminating. Presenter is not necessarily “onstage” the entire time.
  3. Discussion class can include elements of the other two types of sessions: i.e. the introduction of the craft topic can be quite long (up to about 20-25 minutes) and can include examples from the author’s own work. A guided writing exercise can also be used to put into practice some of the issues raised during the discussion or to set up that discussion.
  1. Presenters set up a series of short writing exercises that audience members complete on the spot. These exercises should be unique and not necessarily pulled from a familiar book. They should also be related to each other in some way – i.e. three or four exercises focused on different aspects of plot or dialogue.
  2. Audience members can be asked to read some of their exercises aloud, but keep in mind that this often eats up a lot of time.
  3. These sessions work best when they are framed by a craft topic and/or the presenter has some agenda in mind: i.e. the exercises, and the way they are handled or shared in class, will “add up” to a deeper understanding of some element of craft.
Timing & Attendance

Sessions range from 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on the conference day and the topic. The number of attendees per session varies from 25-75. You will know your enrollment by the time of the conference because students sign up and reserve their spots ahead of time.

Room Arrangements

Rooms are arranged “theater style,” with chairs in rows facing forward. Presenters have a podium with a microphone, 2'x3' whiteboard on an easel, whiteboard markers, and an eraser. If you require another arrangement, please tell us ahead of time and we will try to accommodate your request.


If your session is accepted, we request that you provide at least one handout, of at least one page, per session. Feedback from previous conferences has shown that students love to have something to take away, even if it’s just a list of further reading.


Presenter Application

Yes! We welcome resubmitted sessions, but you’re likely to have more success if you refresh your idea a bit. That said, just because a session is a perfect fit one year, does not mean it will be for the next.

All presenter applications are due Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 at 11:59pm ET.

All presenter application notifications will go out by the end of the day on Thursday, September 19th. You will be notified whether or not your session is accepted.

If you have not received a confirmation email within 4 hours of submitting your application, please check your spam and junk folders. If there is no confirmation email, please reach out to

Yes! To submit multiple sessions, please fill out the form multiple times.

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