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 in-person or 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.

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 now.

Some of our courses take place in the classroom — learn more about Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit.

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  1. Exploring literature: an introduction to poetry
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 1 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Jenny Baynes
    We will read and discuss poetry from across four centuries including poems by Shakespeare, John Donne, Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Emily Dickenson, Wilfred Owen, TS Eliot, WH Auden, Larkin, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Maya Angelou and many more. There will be a weekly spot where students can share their own particular favourites.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  2. Dark Women: Daphne du Maurier, Patricia Highsmith and Elizabeth Bowen
    Course start date:  Tue 26 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    Three women occupy a special place in the story of pre and post war British fiction: the Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, mistress of horror Daphne Du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith, whose dark thrillers have been made into classic films. All three combined a profound sense of dread with dazzling skill in story telling.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £60.00
  3. The American West in Literature
    Course start date:  Wed 27 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    This class examines the literary history of the American West, delving into its iconic representation in literature from the 19th century to the present day. By looking at an exciting range of texts, the class explores literature’s longstanding and ongoing fascination with the culture, politics, and art of the American West.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £79.00
  4. Byron’s Don Juan: 'The grand Napoleon of the realms of rhyme
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 27 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Peter Brennan
    Don Juan is Byron’s crowning achievement – a picaresque mock epic intended to be ‘a little quietly facetious upon everything’. The poem, however, is more complex and engaging - a vision of life predicated on paradox: witty and melancholy, sarcastic and sentimental, romantic and classical, resigned and defiant. This course will illuminate the many facets of Byron’s unprecedented masterpiece.



    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. Contemporary Scottish Fictions: Ali Smith, Jenni Fagan and Douglas Stuart
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 28 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Stephen Winfield
    We will explore three of the most powerful voices in Scottish writing today, focusing on critically-acclaimed novels from 2020 and 2021 by Ali Smith, Jenni Fagan and Douglas Stuart. Their originality and narrative power is matched by a passionate moral commitment and willingness to engage – as Scottish literature has always done - with the most challenging issues faced by their society and ours.



    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. 'Animals in 20th and 21st century fiction
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 4 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  David Barnes
    Animals leap, crawl, hop, and gallop across the pages of modern fiction. Why do authors write about animals? What effect does it have on us as readers when we encounter animals in novels and short stories? From Beatrix Potter and Black Beauty to the contemporary novel, this course explores the role of the animal in modern literature. Themes that we will think about together include: animal suffering, animals in depictions of childhood, and animal transformations and dehumanisation. Includes 'Happiness' (2018) by Aminatta Forna and writings by J.M. Coewtzee and John Berger.



    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
  7. 19th Century French and Russian Literature
    Course start date:  Thu 5 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    This class explores classic texts of 19th century French and Russian literature, discussing literary style, themes, and contexts as a way of developing and sharing responses to celebrated European writing. From history and memory to madness and death, the class tackles some of the finest works ever written. Among the French writers examined will be Balzac, Flaubert, and Baudelaire, with our Russians including Gogol, Tolstoy and Chekhov.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  8. Poetic Moments
    Course start date:  Thu 5 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Jenny Baynes
    This 6 week course will give you an opportunity to read and discuss a range of poetry from the19th century right up to contemporary women writers. We will discuss their concerns and styles and how they achieve their poetic effects. There will be a chance for students to share their own poetic favourites.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00
  9. Ways into Literature: Victorian to the Modern
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 5 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Woody River
    Explore the development of literature from the Victorian age to the beginnings of Postmodernism. Grapple with ethical issues in H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, appreciate the forms and styles of a range of Modernist poetry by T.S. Eliot, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Langston Hughes, examine the African American experience of the 1920s in short stories by Zora Neale Hurston and enter the claustrophobic world of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.



    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
  10. This Rough Magic: enchantment in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    At the end of The Tempest, Prospero announces that henceforth he will abandon the “rough magic” that has enabled him to guide, trick and torment his fellow characters. Shakespeare himself used magic to wonderful effect in two of his greatest plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. How is magic used to bestow blessings and curses, and to shape the course of the plays? And how does Shakespeare use the greatest magic of all – the power of his language – to create this enchantment?



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00
  11. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Wise
    We will explore various themes related to insanity and altered states of consciousness by examining a number of 19th-century works of fiction. Novelists and poets often had the greatest insights into the workings of the mind, and many Victorian psychiatrists cited works of fiction in their case studies. Among the authors we will cover are Charlotte Bronte, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Gogol, Herman Melville and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £60.00
  12. Wit, Sex and Passion: the Metaphysicals
    Course start date:  Tue 7 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    The poetry of the English 17th century - sometimes called Metaphysical poetry - is characterised by wit and wordplay that continue to delight and seduce us today. The poems of John Donne are brilliantly ingenious depictions of sexual passion, those of George Herbert are moving meditations on religious love, while Andrew Marvell in classic poems such as To His Coy Mistress treads a studiedly fine line between the art of seduction and sexual blackmail.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £60.00
  13. Judaism and Modernist Literature: from Kafka to Clarice Lispector
    Course start date:  Fri 24 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  James Leveque
    This course will examine the contributions of Jewish writers in the developments of literary Modernism, from the beginning of the 20th century. We will develop an understanding of how Jewish writers deployed the techniques and themes developed in Modernist writing to approach a series of topics, such as the Jewish family and his or relation to the national body, the Jew as racialised figure and anti-semitism, and the Jewish scriptural traditions.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £97.00
  14. Classic drama: Aeschylus, Shakespeare and Chekhov
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 17 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jenny Baynes
    You will read view and discuss three classic plays : Aeschylus’ Eumenides from The Oresteia, Shakespeare's Macbeth and The Seagull by Chekov in terms of themes, language, their social and historical contexts 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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00

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