Literature Courses in London

We offer a wide range of daytime, evening and weekend literature courses at City Lit, from classical to contemporary literature, and including novels, short stories, drama and poetry. Our reading groups are popular and suitable for all levels, and we also offer an advanced course for those who want to develop their literary skills further. Classes take place in Covent Garden and also online; students can also benefit from our partnerships with others, including Keats’ House.

Many of our courses are delivered online. For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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  1. Exploring literature: an introduction to prose and drama

    Course Date: Tue 22 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This course will introduce you to a range of prose and dramatic texts that explore the human condition and analyse how the writers shape your response.Prose texts include stories by Chekhov, James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield and the novel Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Drama texts include A View from The Bridge by Arthur Miller and Hamlet by Shakespeare.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £209.00
    Senior fee: £167.00
    Concession: £127.00

  2. Great European short stories

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 23 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    European writers took the short story in an excitingly different direction from their British and American counterparts. Authors such as Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, Albert Camus, and Vladimir Nabokov developed the short story’s potential to explore ideas both philosophical and intensely personal. At the same time they knew how to do that important thing – tell a good story.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £159.00
    Senior fee: £159.00
    Concession: £97.00

  3. British literature 1950 -2000: four nations

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 23 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    How did Welshness, Northern Irishness, Scottishness and Englishness manifest themselves in writing of the second half of the twentieth century? Find out through the novels, poems and plays of Dylan Thomas, John Fowles, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and Jackie Kay.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £149.00
    Senior fee: £149.00
    Concession: £91.00

  4. Expatriate fictions: writers abroad

    Course Date: Wed 23 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    An Italian radical in England, a US soldier in Rome, two Englishwomen in India and an elderly Indian migrant in London’s suburbs; this selection of classic novels will examine the lives of expatriates, travellers and outsiders through the eyes of writers who have themselves experienced displacement. The texts include: Happiness as Such by Natalia Ginzburg, The Girl on the Via Flaminia by Alfred Hayes, The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard, Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and Nowhere Man by Kamala Markandaya.

    The full list will be confirmed three weeks before the course begins.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £189.00
    Senior fee: £151.00
    Concession: £115.00

  5. The Victorian novel: Realism and early Modernism

    Course Date: Wed 23 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This is a chance to explore four Victorian texts from the point of view of context, style and the development of the novel through realism into early modernism. Texts will include Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil, Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd and Grant Allen’s The Woman Who Did. There will be supplementary critical and biographical material supplied, and plenty of opportunities for discussion! This course will examine the debates which surrounded the development of Victorian fiction and the ways in which different writers sought to engage with these ideas,.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £159.00
    Senior fee: £127.00
    Concession: £97.00

  6. The Origins of 'Camp': Shakespeare, Byron, Dickinson, Wilde and O'Hara

    Course Date: Wed 23 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Essentially 'camp' is performance enjoyed because of its conscious artificiality. The word is modern, but 'camp' has existed for centuries and, using Susan Sontag's Notes on 'Camp' (1964), we will explore some of its earlier forms. It is often associated with a gay sensibility, but we will show this isn't necessarily so – ‘camp' can arise as the subversive viewpoint of any marginalised people.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £229.00
    Senior fee: £183.00
    Concession: £140.00

  7. An introduction to literature: fiction, poetry and drama

    An introduction to literature: fiction, poetry and drama

    Course Date: Thu 24 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    The course covers poetry, prose and drama. There will be a selection of poetry from the 19th and 20th centuries. Poets include Robert Browning, Emily Bronte, Gillian Clarke and Simon Armitage. For the prose, you will read and discuss Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier and Up the Junction by Nell Dunn (screen adaptations of these will also be discussed). You will read, discuss and view two plays: Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde and Comedians by Trevor Griffiths, in terms of theme, character and language, and how they work as performance texts.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £229.00
    Senior fee: £183.00
    Concession: £140.00

  8. 19th century American literature

    Evening
    Course Date: Thu 24 Sep 2020 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: Online
    This class explores 19th century American literature, from slave narratives to the seminal works of the American Renaissance, reading classic texts to broaden knowledge of literary history through a range of influential stories, poems and novels. Among the writers considered in their literary, political and cultural contexts will be Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Hawthorne, Melville, and Twain.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £149.00
    Senior fee: £149.00
    Concession: £91.00

  9. Beckett: three major texts

    Course Date: Thu 24 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    ‘Words have been my only loves … Nothing else matters but the writing’ (Samuel Beckett). A close reading and discussion, as if approached for the first time, without preconceptions, of three middle period works which together represent the essence of Beckett's achievements in prose and drama.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £189.00
    Senior fee: £151.00
    Concession: £115.00

  10. Apocalypse London: the city in dystopian fiction

    Course Date: Fri 25 Sep 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    The recent pandemic showed us London as an eerie, empty place. This silent, scared city has echoes in such works as John Wyndham’s Day Of The Triffids, HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds, Orwell’s 1984, and Quatermass & The Pit. These fictions explore Londoners’ responses to invasions from space, from savage animals and plant life that has got dangerously out of control; also from ecological disaster and political totalitarianism, which turn the capital into a place of nightmare.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £129.00
    Senior fee: £103.00
    Concession: £79.00

  11. City Lit reading group 1

    City Lit reading group 1

    Course Date: Fri 2 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first session with suggestions (contemporary fiction in paperback) and having read On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (2019). Monthly meetings on 2 Oct, 30 Oct, 27 Nov; 22 Jan, 19 Feb, 19 March; 23 Apr, 21 May and 18 June.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £169.00
    Senior fee: £135.00
    Concession: £103.00

  12. City Lit reading group 2

    Course Date: Fri 9 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first session with suggestions (contemporary fiction in paperback) and having read 'Forest Dark' by Nicole Krauss. Monthly meetings take place on 9 Oct, 6 Nov, 4 Dec; 29 Jan, 26 Feb, 26 March, 30 April, 28 May and 25 June.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £169.00
    Senior fee: £135.00
    Concession: £103.00

  13. Faith and Doubt in Victorian poetry

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 10 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Victorian Britain saw an upsurge of religious affirmation in the context of increasing unease concerning the conventional assumptions of Christian faith. Tracing the evolution of Victorian poetry, we shall consider how the age’s most accomplished poets attempted to resolve that paradox.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £36.00

  14. Guillaume Apollinaire: writer of poetry, drama and prose

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 25 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Although widely known as a poet of World War I, Guillaume Apollinaire was a prolific journalist and art critic, as well as playwright and writer of fiction. The intellectual and personal relationships that he formed in the artistic milieu of the Parisian Belle Epoque established his reputation as one of the most innovative and challenging writers at the beginning of the 20th century.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £59.00
    Senior fee: £47.00
    Concession: £36.00

  15. Short story reading group: classics to contemporary

    Course Date: Tue 27 Oct 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Join us in sharing feelings about, and reactions to, a selection of classic and contemporary short stories where we will be reading "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" by James Joyce and "Ivy Day in the Committee Room" by Eimear McBride (2014). Meetings on 27 Oct, 1 December, 2 Feb, 9 March, 11 May and 22 June.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £129.00
    Senior fee: £103.00
    Concession: £79.00

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