Anderson to guide Fantastic Ekphrastic workshop through New River CTC

Expand your creative writing skills in 2021 in New River Community and Technical College’s “Fantastic Ekphrastic” writing workshop with author Belinda Anderson. The four-week class will begin Jan. 26, 2021 and be offered by conference call.

“Winter is a great time for creative writing,” Anderson explained. “You can stay snug at home and attend the writing workshop either via an internet conference call connection, or using your land line telephone – no high-speed internet is required.”

The conference call writing workshop debuted in the fall, with good reviews. Student Peggy Debnam wrote that attending from home was one of the best aspects of the class.

“I had all my resources in front of me, which made it very relaxing. Relaxing and stimulating at the same time,” Debnam said.

“Fantastic Ekphrastic” takes a traditional creative writing device and expands it to help advance writers of all experience levels. Writers can experiment in the genres of fiction, nonfiction and poetry or focus on one mode.

The workshop will be held on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. The conference calls will include lecture, with time for questions and participant sharing, and group e-mail follow-up as needed.

“I find the sound of someone’s voice on the telephone the next best thing to conversing in person,” Anderson said. “Plus, there’s the benefit of being able to have that conversation while wearing sweats. If you want to wear your pajamas during class, go for it.”

The word ekphrasis derives from the Greek rhetorical exercise of describing art, real or imagined. From the Poetry Foundation: “a notable example is ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn,’ in which the poet John Keats speculates on the identity of the lovers who appear to dance and play music, simultaneously frozen in time and in perpetual motion.”

Johannes Vermeer’s painting titled “Girl with a Pearl Earring” inspired author Tracy Chevalier to write a historical novel creating imagined circumstances for the painter and the model. The novel, in turn, inspired a play and a film.

 “The act of ekphrasis sharpens your descriptive abilities, which benefits you in all types of writing,” Anderson said. “As the workshop progresses, you’ll develop the ability to see how any type of object can add an important element to your work.”

Tuition for the class is $75, and the registration deadline is Jan. 14. Participants will be emailed the conference call number and access codes after registering for the class.

“All you have to do is call a number, enter the access codes you’ll be given, and then you’ll be connected to the group. It’s that easy,” Anderson explained.

For college information or to register visit or contact Gloria Kincaid (304-793-6101,

Learn more about Anderson and her work online at

New River CTC’s Workforce Education Division provides community education classes and employable educational opportunities including noncredit courses, workforce development programs and customized training.