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. The Art of the Essay: from Walter Benjamin to Claudia Rankine
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 23 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will go on a journey to investigate the art and form of the essay through collectively reading a variety of essayists from the early 20th century to the present day. We will explore the essay’s hazy boundaries between diary, literary criticism, nature writing, elegy, aphorism, political tract, and mystical/religious experiences through key essayists including Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf, Clarice Lispector, Audre Lorde, Etel Adnan, James Baldwin, David Rattray, 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
  2. The Unsettled Imagination: exploring Gothic literature
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 12 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Eerie atmospherics; fear; curses; nightmares; confused perceptions; a damsel in distress; a brooding, fallen hero; creaking staircases in seemingly deserted, rain-lashed mansions. Gothic fiction is seen as full of stereotypes. It is actually complex, brilliant, and related to contemporary real-world shenanigans. This course considers classic 18th-19th Century Gothic 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
  3. World Fiction: hidden treasures
    Course Date:  Wed 15 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Freshly translated or newly rediscovered gems of international writing from the second half of the 20th century, including The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi (Japan), Snow Country by Kawabata, The Coffer Dams by Kamala Markandaya (India/Britain), The Island by Ana Maria Matute (Spain), and The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese (Italy).

    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
  4. Novels of Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre, Shirley & Villette
    Course Date:  Wed 15 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This online Literature course focuses on Charlotte Bronte’s three major novels: Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette. We will develop an appreciation of Bronte’s narrative methods and concerns through close analysis of her language, alongside engaging with the literary, historical and critical contexts of these novels, and the Bronte ‘mythology’ itself.

    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
  5. Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 20 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course will introduce and discuss a branch of Children’s Literature known as Young Adult (YA) Fiction. It is also sometimes referred to as Adolescent or Teenage Fiction. We will read books like Malorie Blackman’s Noble Conflict (2013) and Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours (2015). YA Fiction often addresses complex and challenging topics, like conflict, social class, gender, sexuality, and disability. It tends to depict heroes and heroines who may not always have carefree traditional backgrounds or happy-ever-after endings. They can face vast struggles and uncertainties, like those amplified in the increasingly turbulent and precarious world beyond the text.

    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 £129.00 Concession £79.00
  6. Exploring Medieval Literature: The Canterbury Tales
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 10 May 2021 (and 1 other date)

    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
  7. The American Short Story
    Course Date:  Mon 20 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    The short story is America’s outstanding literary form. The explosion of magazines in the 19th century led to a huge market in stories “to be taken down with a gulp.” Many of its greatest writers specialised in the form – including Edith Wharton, Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, William Faulkner and Lorrie Moore – and made it a vivid barometer of American life.

    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 £199.00 Concession £121.00
  8. Migration and mobility in contemporary fiction
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 20 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    How have contemporary fiction writers responded to the experiences of a planet on the move? Between globalisation, the legacy of empires, and an escalating refugee crisis, the 21st century has been shaped by unprecedented levels of migration and geographical mobility. This course explores how a selection of recent novels have given shape to this context. Authors include: Teju Cole, Kamila Shamsie, Mohsin Hamid, and Hoda Barakat.

    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. Great Historical Novels
    Course 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
  10. Out of the fire: Black American writers in the 20th Century
    Course Date:  Tue 21 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Weaving history, diverse traditions and a collage of voices, this online literature course will explore the struggle and celebration of black experience through Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, both growing out of the explosion of Black art during the Harlem Renaissance.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £143.00 Concession £109.00
  11. Writing Post-Colonial London
    Evening
    Course 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
  12. Portrayals of masculinity in the contemporary novel
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 22 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course will explore how masculinity is portrayed in the post-colonial novel. We will discuss some of the factors that influence these portrayals, such as class, sexuality and race, and how they continue to be shaped by the colonial past in the post-colonial present of these works.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £60.00
  13. Asian American Literature
    Course Date:  Wed 22 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    What is Asian American literature and how has it been defined? In this course we’ll unpack this question whilst exploring some of the most exciting texts which have emerged from this umbrella term in the last couple of years. We will also consider the history and context of Asian American literature as a category, if the texts under discussion share any common themes and whether authors themselves have embraced this label.

    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. The Victorian novel: Realism and early Modernism
    Course 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
  15. Beowulf and the origins of English Literature
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    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 £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00

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