This online course uses art as the starting point to explore ideas and develop your creative writing skills in both poetry and prose, guided by celebrated author Cate Kennedy and La Trobe University’s Head of Creative Arts and English, Dr Catherine Padmore. The Art of Writing is supported by Presenting Partner La Trobe University.


Week 1
Introduction to Art Inspired Writing
Learn about the concept of 'ekphrastic' writing and the rich history of creative responses to art with examples provided of historical and contemporary writers. What are the approaches and artistic decisions used by these writers to create the kind of writing which lodges in a reader's mind as an impactful emotional experience?
Week 2
Writing Techniques
What are the tips and tricks that writers use to allow the transference of meaningful ideas from writer to reader? Learn how to consciously make decisions regarding style, form and finding your own distinctive voice and apply this to both poetry and prose writing in response to works in the NGV Collection.
Week 3
The Art of the Prose Response
Take a closer look at prose writing in its many guises, including the fictional piece, the personal reflection, and 'essay' style non-fiction. Learn how to locate the best narrative voice to serve your purpose, and use detail, description, specificity and metaphor to 'frame' your work for maximum impact.
Week 4
Refining and Editing
Learn the ways that editing processes improve written works so the author's creative vision shines through. Staff from La Trobe University's Department of Creative Arts and English outline the editing stages for multiple written forms and provide exercises to apply to your own works-in-progress.

Course objectives

  • Create original texts inspired by artworks and professional pieces of prose and poetry
  • Apply new knowledge of various writing forms and devices to generating original poetry and prose
  • Apply skills of self-editing, reshaping and refining to original pieces of writing

Enrolment options

Standard Course Enrolment

Includes seven weeks access to learning materials from the course start date.


  • General: $69
  • NGV Members: $63

Course dates are yet to be announced. Please register your interest to keep up to date about future courses.


Girl reading 1938
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1946
© the artist’s estate