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. Beowulf and the Origins of English Literature 700-900
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    After Conversion brought writing to England, Christian monks scribed poems and other literature in manuscripts that were often composed in an earlier, pre-literate culture. It is widely held that Beowulf is a product of this period of Old English writing, between 700 and 900, but most of the poetry is found in manuscripts dated centuries later, around the year 1000. There is thus much speculation as to the circumstances surrounding the composition of earliest literature in England, and this course explores the creativity of those poets and scribes, and the world in which they lived.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  2. The Art of the Essay: from Walter Benjamin to Claudia Rankine
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will go on a journey to investigate the art and form of the essay through a variety of women essayists from the early 20th century to the present day. We will explore the essay’s hazy boundaries between memoir, confession, nature writing, elegy, sermon, polemic and mystical/religious experience through key women essayists including Virginia Woolf, Simone Weil, Audre Lorde, Clarice Lispector, Kathleen Jamie, Anne Carson, and Claudia Rankine.



    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
  3. Battles, Riddles and Spells: the Old English tradition 900-1100
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 21 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Great changes occurred in England between 900 and 1100. Viking invasions had turned to settlement, influencing the culture and language. Events in 1066 changed the ruling elite. The language used at court changed from Old English to Norman French. However, English was still the common tongue, and much of the great store of Old English poetry and prose was produced during this time. This course looks at the literature of 900-1100, as well as the turbulent events that affected and shaped English writing.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  4. Philip Larkin & His Contemporaries
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 23 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    ‘The shit in the shuttered château / Who does his five hundred words / Then parts out the rest of the day / Between bathing and booze and birds / Is far off as ever, but so / Is that spectacled schoolteaching sod…,” wrote Larkin in his poem, ‘The Life with a Hole in it.’ Who is the real Philip Larkin? Our course slices the bard of Coventry, Larkin loved and Larkin reviled, into four periods during the second half of the twentieth century to set him in context, with a view to unravelling some of his guises and understanding how he came to have such a hold on the British reading public.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  5. Dark Women: Daphne du Maurier, Patricia Highsmith and Elizabeth Bowen
    Course start date:  Tue 26 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    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
  6. ‘Unusual, unreliable and impossible storytellers’: Piranesi, Elizabeth is Missing and Hotel World
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 3 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    This course focuses on the intriguing and unlikely storytellers at work in recent fiction. How do we believe a story told by a woman who has dementia or a man who thinks that only fifteen people ever lived? What do we think when a five-year-old child is a novel’s narrator, or a dead person, or even a desert boot and a bandage? What are we to make of their improbable and sometimes unsettling stories? Can these unusual narrators open up new ways of thinking about the world? Includes work by Emma Healey, Susannah Clark and Ali Smith.



    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 £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
  7. Poetry of the Vikings
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Medieval Norse or Icelandic Poetry contains the bulk of the myth and legends relating to the Germanic peoples who migrated across Europe in the first Century A.D. Some of it is praise poetry, very complex in nature, made by Scandinavian court poets. Some of it appears within the great Saga literature. This course looks at some principal material about the creation and demise of the world, about gods, heroes, and a character who is driven into a snake pit and who plays the harp with his feet!



    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
  8. Contemporary American literature by Women
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 6 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    The American canon is dominated by white, male writers. In this course, we seek to rectify this by exploring the work of women from all backgrounds working across disciplines. Authors include Joan Didion, Claudia Rankine, and Siri Hustvedt.



    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
  9. Wit, Sex and Passion: the Metaphysicals
    Course start date:  Tue 7 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    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
  10. Robert Frost: a life in poetry
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 9 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    With a career spanning nearly fifty years, Robert Frost is one of America’s best-loved poets. His poetry is often written in simple meters with regular rhyme schemes, and most of us will probably be familiar with at least one of his poems, either ‘The Road not Taken’ or ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. Both poems are set in the woodlands of New England, but is there more to Robert Frost than being a traditional poet who loved nature?



    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 £79.00 Concession £60.00
  11. Introduction to Graphic Novels
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 14 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    In 2018, Nick Drnaso’s graphic novel Sabrina was long listed for the Man Booker Prize leading to renewed discussion about the graphic novel and its relationship to the novel form. In this course, we will discuss how graphic novels, or ‘narratives of sequential art’, have developed into a literary and cultural form over the latter half of the twentieth century and into the current day.



    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. The Art of the Essay: film and literary crossovers
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    What are the crossovers between the film and literary essay? Beginning with an investigation of the history of the essay as a literary genre , we will then consider the literary heritages of the film essay and travel through the essay as a hybrid, multi-medial genre ( including moving image, text, sound and everything in between) from the early 20th century to the present day. We will explore a range of film/literary essayists including Claudia Rankine, Agnes Varda, Virginia Woolf, Anne Carson, Chris Marker and Arthur Jafa.



    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
  13. Sagas of the Vikings
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    The Norse or Icelandic Sagas might be the greatest literature from the medieval period. They are prose tales, mostly written in medieval Iceland. They concern the histories and myths of Northern Europe. This course looks at some principal tales – about poets, gods, heroes - and farmers with super powers!



    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

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