Fiction: Craft Workshop

Read like a Writer/Write like a Reader

The topic for this fourth workshop in the series is EKPHRASIS.

We are using the word here to explore the use of one media to describe another. Think of the paintings in Moby Dick, how Melville devotes an entire chapter about painting The Whale. Think of Dorian Gray, of Ali Smith, of all the books and films meant to illuminate the act of a painter painting, of Geoff Dyer satirizing the art scene in Geoff in Venice, of Michel Houellebecq’s novel about a painter painting painters who is also obsessed by a writer named Houellebecq, about all the films deplicting writers’ blocks or painters’ insanities where the actual work is used to explore the characters.

In Nicole Krauss’ story Seeing Ershadi, the film, the story, the characters – including the filmmaker – are all interwoven. It’s a real film called A Taste of Cherries by the Iranian Director Abbas Kiarostami ( The point of the film, considering its surprising and existential ending, may be that life is meant to be experienced, not interpreted. This may also be the point of Nicole Krauss’ story.

We’ll use this story to explore how one medium may enhance another, how even the description of a painting on a wall can deepen our understanding of plot and character.

The two files for this workshop are here:

0601_burl_krauss.pdf (Nicole Krauss’ story)
0601_burl.examples.pdf (info and examples.)

Please download and read both these files. You don’t have to print them out, just have them available on your device for the workshop. Nicole Krauss reads “Seeing Ershadi” (39 minutes) here:

Remember that on Saturday the door is locked, so please come on time as someone will be waiting downstairs to let you in. If you’re late, call the phone number posted on the door.

If you’re not coming, change your RSVP to “NO”.

For more info or questions, contact me at

Workshop leader: Riki Moss, a BWW member since 2015, attending and leading workshops and retreats as she struggles through a hair-pulling draft of her second novel. Her first, An Obese Gentleman In No Apparent Distress (North Atlantic Press) was a fictionalized collaboration. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, has several short stories in anthologies, and a previous life as a potter/sculptor.


June 1


10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Click to Register:

The Burlington Writers Workshop


Burlington Writers Workshop

110 Main St Suite 3C

Burlington, VT, US

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