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. 'I caught this morning morning's minion': the passions of Gerard Manley Hopkins
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 26 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore why Hopkins wrote highly original poems of great power and beauty, but didn’t attempt to have them published in his lifetime. We will look at how this relates to his conversion to Roman Catholicism and, in turn, how this may have related to fears about his sexuality.

    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
  2. A Play in two days: 'Cymbeline'
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 26 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Read or seen the play but want to know more? This course examines the background to Shakespeare's 'Cymbeline', discusses characters, identifies themes, draws parallels with Shakespeare's other plays, looks at language and analyses key scenes.

    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
  3. Climate Change Fiction: From Ian McEwan to Margaret Atwood
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 4 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    What is the role of fiction in an age of climate change? Join us over two Sunday morning classes to explore this question through writers including Ian McEwan, Barbara Kingsolver, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood and more.

    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
  4. Hard Boiled Classics: ‘The Maltese Falcon’ by Dashiell Hammett and ‘Farewell my Lovely’ by Raymond Chandler
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 17 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This online two half day Saturday course will look at two of the seminal classics of the hard-boiled genre of detective fiction, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett and Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler.

    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
  5. Animals in 20th and 21st century fiction
    Course Date:  Mon 19 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    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 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.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00
  6. Writing the World: the international art of the short story
    Course Date:  Tue 20 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This online four session course provides an opportunity to read and celebrate the breadth, history and diversity of the short story form across the world. The course covers stories by writers from Turkey, Czech Republic, Russia, America, Guatemala, Columbia, Finland, Ireland, Scotland and India.

    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 £63.00 Concession £48.00
  7. Happy ever After? Reading fairy tales
    Course Date:  Tue 20 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course will introduce and discuss a selection of fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard. The evolution of fairy tales will be considered by reading different versions of these stories. We will think about key themes and issues, such as the rags to riches format, the role of the hero, the role of the heroine, the wicked stepmother, and deception. We will also think about how these tales were not just entertainment, but conveyed important social and pedagogical ideas.

    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 £63.00 Concession £48.00
  8. The Witches; wicked women and the myths that make them
    Course Date:  Tue 20 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    “I understood that legends weren’t lies but were ways of telling history,” says author Fernanda Melchor. Witches have been coming out of the literal and fictional woodwork in recent years, as a resurgence of interest in occultism and sorcery registers its centrality as a site of subversion. We investigate the different formal strategies artists have used to approach the witch as a cultural trope.

    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 £63.00 Concession £48.00
  9. Historical Novels: reimagining and rewriting
    Course Date:  Thu 22 Jul 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 course investigates historical fiction written in the twenty-first century and how it reimagines the past for us as contemporary readers. Reading fiction set in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we will explore historical fiction’s strategies, challenges and pleasures: how it can bring unknown stories into view and rewrite what we think we know.

    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 £63.00 Concession £48.00
  10. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 24 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    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 £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £30.00
  11. Exploring Medieval Literature: origins of the Robin Hood legend
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 1 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Dashing heroes, dazzling tights, merry men, and talking foxes: the Robin Hood legend has influenced many TV and film representations. How did it originate, and why? What relationships have the fiction with the history? And how did Robin Hood stories develop in ballads, plays (including in Shakespeare), and poems?

    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
  12. Maps and Mapping in Fiction
    Course Date:  Wed 4 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Whether the places they depict are real, imaginary, or somewhere in between, writers of fiction have long been fascinated by maps and the possibilities they contain. From fantasy lands to real-life geographies, this course investigates the close (though sometimes ambiguous) relationships between maps and fiction. We will explore extracts and illustrative maps from a range of different texts, and try our hand at mapping a fictional space for ourselves.

    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
  13. The Poetry of W.B. Yeats
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 8 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Over 150 years since the birth of William Butler Yeats, his poetry continues to have an enduring place in the landscape of world literature, inspiring writers, musicians and artists alike. This course explores four of his finest poems written at different stages in his life. We will examine how he sought inspiration from Irish mythology, politics, nature, his personal relationships and art to develop ideas about beauty and creativity.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00
  14. Caribbean voices: writers of the Windrush generation
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 14 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    “Wat a joyful news, miss Mattie, | I feel like me heart gwine burs | Jamaica people colonizin | Englan in reverse,” wrote the England-bound Jamaican poet Louise Bennett in 1966. Two decades of migration from the Caribbean “periphery” to the British “metropole” saw the development of deep varied Caribbean traditions both critical and creative, and this weekend course considers them.

    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. Virginia Woolf: essayist and thinker
    Course Date:  Wed 18 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This online literature course will explore Virginia Woolf’s work as an essay writer and thinker, focusing on Woolf's 'A Room of One's Own', 'Three Guineas', 'The Common Reader', and other essays.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00

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