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.

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  1. The European city in contemporary literature
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 2 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Reading our way through Paris, Madrid and Berlin, in this course we’ll be taking in some of the standout works of urban literature to have been written since 2000: texts that tell us about places, identities and contemporary life, and which prompt us to question how we think about, inhabit and visit cities.



    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. Shakespeare's ghosts: Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 3 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online





    This online Literature course explores Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar, taking a close look at the ghosts that feature in these plays – Old Hamlet, Banquo and Julius Caesar - as a way of investigating some of their wider themes and concerns, including memory, grief, revenge, agency, power, ambition, guilt and the psyche.



    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
  3. The Emperor of Ice Cream: why Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and Frank O'Hara are important
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    We will explore the work of these three major 20th century American poets, focussing on what is original about their work and how they changed people’s understanding of what is possible in poetry. We will look at how their poetry developed over their writing lifetimes, how they saw their work in relation to the poetry of the past and present, and how their poetry reflected or otherwise gave meaning to their lives – Stevens as a lifelong insurance lawyer, Moore as an unmarried woman without a profession and living with her mother, and O’Hara as an art curator as out-gay as it was possible to be until his untimely death in 1960.



    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 £159.00 Concession £97.00
  4. The present and the past in historical fiction: Maggie O’Farrell, Pat Barker and Sara Collins
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Why are we drawn to historical fiction? What do we want to discover? This course investigates historical fiction written in the twenty-first century and how it reimagines past societies for contemporary readers. Reading novels and selected extracts, we’ll explore the strategies, pleasures and challenges of historical fiction: how it can bring unknown lives into the light and ask us to think again about the present. Includes The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker and The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins.



    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
  5. Romantic Visions
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    This literature course will trace the development of the Romantic shift in sensibility, from the rediscovery of medieval ballads – and the lucrative trade in fakes – in the late 18thC, to the first generation of Romantics such as Wordsworth and Coleridge ,who set English poetry on a new course by declaring that poetry was not the cleverly crafted expression of accepted truth but “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”; to the brilliant second generation of poets such as Keats and Shelley who found new areas of the imagination to explore; to its legacy in later centuries and our own time.



    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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  6. The Complete Ishiguro Part Two: 2000-2021
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the world of Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro as we focus on the second twenty years of his writing career. Books include When We Were Orphans, Never Let Me Go, The Buried Giant and Klara and the Sun. We also take a look at his ventures into song lyrics and film screenplays.



    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
  7. Hidden Treasures: stories from everywhere
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    You will read, analyse and discuss carefully selected treasures of international fiction, several of them freshly translated, from the second half of the 20th century, including a moving study of urban life from Denmarks’ Tove Ditlevsen, an Anatolian saga from Turkey’s Yashar Kemal, a satirical study of postwar Germany by Irmgard Keun, a portrait of a modern marriage by Italy’s Alberto Moravia, and a classic tale of life in a Welsh mining village by Kate Roberts.



    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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  8. Contemporary Scottish Women's Fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore and discuss a selection of contemporary fictional texts by Scottish women writers, including Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon and Ali Smith’s Hotel World. We will think about key themes and issues, such as nationhood, women’s contribution to remapping the nation through its fictional imagining and relationship beyond its borders, social class, gender, sexuality, and journeys.



    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
  9. Faulkner's 'Absalom, Absalom!': inheriting history
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Outrage: That is where we begin in this huge work that traces the history of the tortured South on its warriors and inheritors. Faulkner explores the weight of history, class boundaries, gender relationships and limitations, competing narratives and ultimately the disruption of racism into the lives of all. The guided, text-based discussion in this course will provide tools towards understanding Faulkner’s complex vision.



    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. Vagabonds in modern fiction and film
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    “I aint got no home, I’m just a roamin’ round” (Woody Guthrie). This class explores the figure of the vagabond and representations of hardship and the road in works by celebrated authors and filmmakers. From Charlie Chaplin and George Orwell to Woody Guthrie and Agnès Varda, we investigate the historical and cultural contexts of the image of the vagabond in 20th century literature and cinema.



    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
  11. Classic drama: Aeschylus, Shakespeare and Chekhov
    Course start date:  Mon 17 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    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 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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £121.00
  12. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 17 Jan 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    The late 19th/early 20th century was a tumultuous time in London, and many fiction writers sought a new way to explore the themes of poverty, social injustice, gender and ethnicity in the capital. We will explore each author’s approach to the subject matter, and travel in fiction to many vividly realised London locations, ranging from Lambeth to Soho, Whitechapel to Seven Dials, Shoreditch to Shadwell, identifying innovations in narrative style and literary genre.



    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
  13. Film of the Book
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will read works of fiction and view their cinematic transformations, developing an understanding of plot,



    characterisation and narrative in a film making context. Each session includes analysis and discussion of the literary



    text and an opportunity to view and consider the film.



    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
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  14. America in the 70s: culture and society
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Journey through the history, literature, film, music and art of the 70s, an era of economic struggle and cultural change. While America continued to reflect aspects of 60s social upheaval, a more energised 'New Right' was emerging in defense of political conservatism and the traditional family, schisms that still exist today. We investigate the cross currents across the many facets of the 70s through a 'taster' of each subject area.



    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
  15. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    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 £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00

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