Anderson to guide Fantastic Ekphrastic workshop

New River Community and Technical College is offering a new four-week workshop with author Belinda Anderson starting Sept. 29. The college is also offering a new way of attending – from the comfort of home using the Zoom conference call option, so participants don’t need high-speed Internet to participate.

“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.

“I thought it would be fun to explore a classic concept in a new way,” Anderson said.

The four-week writing workshop is scheduled for Tuesdays, Sept. 29 through Oct. 20 from 10 to 11 a.m. The workshop will be conducted through one-hour conference calls that 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 workshop is $75, and students should preregister by Sept. 22. Participants will be emailed the conference call number and access code after registering for the class.

For more information or to register for the workshop visit or contact Gloria Kincaid (304-793-6101,

To learn more about Anderson and her work visit

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