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. Spies in Modern Literature: John Le Carre, Javier Marias & Graham Greene
    Course Date:  Thu 8 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    How relevant is spy literature in the 21st century? How has it evolved? This course will consider the complex narrative enticements of two acclaimed masters of the genre operating at the high end between popular entertainment and serious art form, and revisit a classic text from the 1970s whose psychological realism and moral questioning still resonate with us today.

    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 £69.00 Concession £42.00
  3. 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
  4. Bruce Chatwin: persona, storytelling and literary style
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 19 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Through close readings of Chatwin’s ground-breaking travel books In Patagonia (1977) and The Songlines (1987), alongside extracts from letters, biographies and other sources, we will explore and analyse the techniques that created one of the most important and controversial literary figures of the twentieth century.

    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. Introduction to Graphic Novels
    Course Date:  Tue 20 Jul 2021

    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 £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £42.00
  6. Writers of the New Yorker
    Course Date:  Wed 28 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Over three weeks we explore the work of three writers from The New Yorker. We think about the history of the magazine and look at the writing of three of its best-known women: Maeve Brennan, Lillian Ross, and Janet Malcolm.

    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 £49.00 Concession £30.00
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    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 £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00
  13. From the Land of the Rising Sun: an introduction to Japanese literature
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the strange and beautiful world of Japanese literature from the 17th century to the present. Follow the footsteps of a medieval travelling poet, delve into the Tokyo pleasure district, view Hiroshima through the eyes of survivors after the atomic bombing, and interpret dreams to illuminate Japanese history and culture. Using art, photography, history and film, you will explore poems, journals, short stories and novels by ten of Japan’s most important writers.

    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
  14. London ‘lowlife’ in fiction: 1889-1907
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 27 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will explore the themes of poverty, politics, gender and ethnicity in London at the end of the 19th century/start of the 20th century through the eyes of writers of fiction, but also through the testimony of their non-fiction contemporaries – social investigators, government officials, journalists and philanthropists.

    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. City Lit Evening Reading Group
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 28 Sep 2020 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first session with suggestions (contemporary fiction in paperback) and having read The Offing by Benjamin Myers. Monthly meetings on 27 Sept, 25 Oct, 29 Nov; 17 Jan, 21 Feb, 28 March, 09 May, 13 June, and 11 July.

    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

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