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. '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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Bob Dylan and American culture
    Course Date:  Tue 20 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This class explores the work of Bob Dylan, examining his song writing, musical style and persona in the context of American cultural, political, and musical history, exploring how Dylan engages with American culture through his absorption and reworking of multifarious aspects of both historical and modern Americana.

    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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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

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