Literature

Literature Courses in London

Explore our exciting range of Literature courses, from Literary History, to specialist courses in Fiction, Poetry and Drama. We offer introductory and in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, where you can revisit classic texts and discover new writers.

Study online from the comfort of home, with classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students and share your passion for literature as part of a learning community. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long. For more information, please see our guide to online learning.

Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many also teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion for fiction, poetry and drama through presentations, readings, interactive discussion, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit literary community; others are inspired to progress onto university study.

Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place online now.

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  1. Literature taster
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Sep 2021 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Do you want to find out how to go about understanding a poem or how to do a close reading of a work of fiction? Come and join us to discover what makes a literature class at City Lit so special.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £6.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  2. Key texts of 19th & 20th century drama: Ibsen, Wilde, Williams and Stoppard
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course will explore the concerns,styles and influences of 4 key dramatic texts from the late 19th and 20th centuries and how they reflect the times in which they were written. Texts studied include Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams and Travesties by Tom Stoppard.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £134.00
  3. Exploring Medieval Literature: The Canterbury Tales
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Pilgrimage, religion, social mores and foibles, exuberant women, and a drunk miller with a penchant for bashing down doors with his head! Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are excellent examples of Middle English writing. The range of characters, diverse plotlines, energy and playfulness all offer a fine insight into 14th Century England. It’s medieval England’s most famous work; this is because Chaucer’s multi-layered writing style is varied, subtle, and brilliant.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
  4. Great Historical Novels
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Historical fiction is enjoying a boom. Authors are recreating ancient Rome, Tudor England, medieval Europe and Civil War America while writing prequels and sequels to Homer and Jane Austen. We’ll be reading and discussing some classics of the genre from Mary Renault’s admired evocation of ancient Greece The King Must Die to novels by Alice Walker and James Meek and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  5. Writing Post-Colonial London
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Migration from once-colonised countries to the old imperial centre has transformed London demographically and culturally. This course offers an opportunity to critically read a selection of novels, poetry and cinema written by writers and filmmakers of migrant and diaspora heritage that examine life in contemporary multicultural and postcolonial London. We will be focusing on how this select body of work interrogates legacies of colonialism, racism and socio-economic inequality as well as offering a creative space for investigating London’s place as a multicultural metropolis.



    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
  6. Exploring literature: an introduction to prose and drama
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021

    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 Alice Munro, Raymond Carver and Kazuo Ishiguro and the short novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. The drama texts will be 'Ghosts' by Ibsen and 'All my Sons' by Arthur Miller.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £134.00
  7. Poetry cooked and raw: from Emily Dickinson to the Beat Poets
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore how poets changed during the 20th century from writing in formal ‘poetic’ language and regular forms towards writing in more natural language, freer forms and with more direct expression of feelings. We will look at free verse, political poetry, the Beat Poets, confessional poetry and prose poetry.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £146.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. The Victorian novel: Realism and early Modernism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Sep 2021

    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 Adam Bede (George Eliot), Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell), Dr jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson) and The Turn of the Screw (Henry James). 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
  9. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Read and discuss celebrated short stories each week for six weeks – discuss and explore what we understand might be the writers’ intentions, and what it means for us as readers – which can be quite different. Join us in sharing feelings about, and reactions to, a selection of classic and contemporary short stories and how they withstand the shifting context of readers, and time.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
  10. From the Land of the Rising Sun: an introduction to Japanese literature
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the strange and beautiful world of Japanese literature from the 17th century to the present. Follow the footsteps of a medieval travelling poet, delve into the Tokyo pleasure district, view Hiroshima through the eyes of survivors after the atomic bombing, and interpret dreams to illuminate Japanese history and culture. Using art, photography, history and film, you will explore poems, journals, short stories and novels by ten of Japan’s most important writers.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
  11. Russian and Eastern European poetry: a survey
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A guided tour of the personalities and achievements of the extraordinary constellation of poets that emerged during the Soviet century and its aftermath, including Akhmatova, Pasternak, Mayakovsky and their contemporaries, Milosz, Szymborska, Herbert and Anna Swir (Poland), Popa (Serbia), Holub (Czech Republic), Sorescu, Mircea Ivanescu and Nina Cassian (Romania), and others.



    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
  12. New nature writing in fiction and poetry
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 24 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This online literature course explores the fiction and poetry that has emerged from a new type of nature writing in the UK. Tracing back its origins to antecedents like Seamus Heaney, who weaved stories of the politics of Northern Ireland into personal encounters with local nature, and W.G. Sebald, whose long semi-fictional nature walks took in natural phenomena, history, and emotional connection, we explore a number of contemporary novels, poetry and memoir by Heaney, Sebald, Alice Oswald, Helen Macdonald. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Kathleen Jamia and Naomi Booth.



    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
  13. A Century of Surrealist Literature
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 24 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Did the world need another ‘ism’ when André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto in 1924? As a splinter movement from Dada, and borrowing its name from a term coined years before by Guillaume Apollinaire, was it even that original? We’ll explore how, despite its inauspicious origins, Surrealism grew to become one of the most influential artistic and literary styles 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 £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  14. Historical fiction: reimagining the past
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 26 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    What’s the unique appeal of historical fiction? Why do we read so much of it, and what are we looking for? This short online course investigates how historical novels reimagine the past for us as contemporary readers. Reading extracts from novels set in different periods, we’ll explore the pleasures and challenges of historical fiction, and how it works to bring unknown stories into view.



    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. London ‘lowlife’ in fiction: 1889-1907
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 27 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore the themes of poverty, politics, gender and ethnicity in London at the end of the 19th century/start of the 20th century through the eyes of writers of fiction, but also through the testimony of their non-fiction contemporaries – social investigators, government officials, journalists and philanthropists.



    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

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