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The Ekphrastic Hour: Art as a Feedback Loop for Fiction

Writers have long been inspired by visual art, and more recently by films and other visual mediums. Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum “the medium is the message” is a waving red cape for the kind of writer who lives for the challenge of translating the visual message into a non-visual medium. And for writers truly interested in putting something wondrous strange on the page, the visual can - pardon the pun - stay in the picture to create a sort of feedback loop between text and image, and other texts and other images, resulting in a fiction that’s both defamiliarized but also deeply human and recognizable. We’ll look at examples of ekphrastic writing and ekphrastic experiments, and get inspired to go beyond description to get at something more fundamental than setting, something deeper and more surreal than simple translation of an image.

Instructor: Amber Sparks is the author of And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and other Revenges and The Unfinished World. Her fiction and essays have appeared in American Short FictionParis ReviewTin HouseGranta, and elsewhere. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, daughter, and two cats.


Details: The Ekphrastic Hour: Art as a Feedback Loop for Fiction takes place Saturday April 6 from 10 -11 am online via Zoom

Prerequisite: None

Genre: Fiction

Level: All levels

Format: Craft talk

Location: This class takes place online via Zoom.

Size: Limited to 35 participants.

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 11.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email

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