History, culture & writing

Explore History, Culture & Writing

Explore our extraordinary range of History, Culture and Writing courses and lectures. We offer both introductory and specialist in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, from ‘How to read a film’ and World literature, to Creative non-fiction writing courses and American history and Politics courses.

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of courses allowing you to choose between online and in-person learning. All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, you’ll receive the same great City Lit experience. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many have published, teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion through presentations, readings, interactive discussion and exercises, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit Learning community.

Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.

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  1. Picture book writing
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Oct 2022 (and 8 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Andrew Weale
    Would you like to write a picture book text for young children? This course is designed for children's writers and for illustrators wishing to write their own stories, develop their ideas and technique.



    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 £65.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  2. Writing the family
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 19 Nov 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nick Barlay
    A thought-provoking workshop designed to tackle the challenges of writing about family life and offer guidance on shaping personal stories into coherent, engaging narratives.



    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 £35.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  3. Life writing: a taster
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 24 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Lucy Popescu
    This inspiring workshop encourages students to explore a range of techniques and prompts in order to create vivid and engaging life writing.



    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 £35.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  4. Self-publishing: a taster
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 19 Mar 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Helen Cox
    Want to keep full creative control of your writing project? Learn more about self-publishing and how to give your book (poetry, fiction or non-fiction) the best chance of achieving high sales.



    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 £35.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. All that Jazz: American Beat writing
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 1 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Woody River
    This course explores the excitement and innovation of the Beat Generation writers who emerged in the 1950s. We will examine their sources of inspiration while exploring their lives and the culture in which they lived. We will also consider their legacy and how their work and lifestyles shaped what was to come.



    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 £64.00
    Rating:
    80% of 100
  6. German Expressionism: From Horror to Film Noir
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 3 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    German Expressionism influenced Hollywood horror after itself being influenced by early Swedish Nordic noir. Along with F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene, Fritz Lang was one of the key figures of German Expressionist cinema. Their influence crossed borders and is alive today in cinema tropes, camera techniques and narrative themes still used by filmmakers, game designers and artists. Their films changed moviemaking forever as directors and set designers created a nightmare environment of unnatural perspectives and distorted images in early films such as Nosferatu (1922 F.W. Murnau), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919 Robert Weine), and Metropolis (1927 Fritz Lang) which led to Dracula (1931 Tod Browning), Spellbound (1945 Alfred Hitchcock) and Blade Runner (1982 Ridley Scott). American pulp fiction shaded this into film noir in The Killers (1946 Robert Siodmak) and Double Indemnity (1944 Billy Wilder), films created by directors who had fled the land of German Expression. It had come full circle.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  7. How to write a novel synopsis
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 4 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    This one-day workshop teaches students how to write a synopsis of their completed manuscript, an essential requirement of submitting to agents and publishers.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
  8. The Socratic philosophers: Plato
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 5 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Goff
    Plato’s philosophy is the foundation of Western thought. It remains essential to a philosophical understanding the human condition.



    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 £35.00
  9. The worlds of Orson Welles
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 8 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    This class explores the work of Orson Welles, examining his performances, films, and persona in the context of the literary, cinematic, cultural worlds that inspired him. We explore Welles’s engagement with modern culture through his absorption and reworking of different art forms, from drama and poetry to cinema and magic.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  10. Copies & copyists in antiquity: art, beauty and misunderstanding
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 8 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the often-overlooked world of ancient copies and copyists, how their work helped to save art treasures for the future and how it impacts on our modern perception of the Ancient World.



    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 £38.00
  11. 'We're still here': new contemporary painting in the UK
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 9 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Living in a digital age, is contemporary painting ‘redundant'? This four week course explores how alive and kicking contemporary painting is in Britain. Discover how exciting, new UK-based artists use both experimental and traditional painting approaches to address issues of identity, history and personal experience.



    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 £79.00 Concession £64.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  12. The lost town of Lundenwic: mid-Saxon London 600-900 CE
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Blended (learn both online and in-person)

    Tutors:  Stuart Brookes
    Look at the least known episodes in London's history, Lundenwic (AD 600-900) and Lundenburh (AD 900-1000).



    Includes an introductory lecture, museum visit and guided walk.



    This course will be delivered online and in person. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  13. Writing the Oulipo: a taster
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Terry Freedman
    Does your writing need a boost of inspiration? How about counter-intuitively imposing constraints on yourself? Learn about the ideas of the French Oulipo movement and see what happens when you experiment with interesting – and challenging – limitations!



    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 £69.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. Introduction to Film Spectatorship
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will provide a brief introduction to the history of film spectatorship, tracing its origins in the silent era up to the present day. The course will explore a number of films in detail, includingThe Truman Show (Peter Weir 1998 US), Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore 1998 Italy), The Matrix (Wachowskis 1999 US) and others.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  15. The worlds of Toni Morrison: a study of Beloved
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 12 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Tobin Brothers
    Toni Morrison’s lyric prose helps the reader grasp the psychological devastation wreaked by the institution of slavery by close observation of a community of ex-slaves re-creating their lives in the second half of the 19th century.



    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 £79.00 Concession £64.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100

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