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.

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.

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, we've got the class for you. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

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  1. Ways into poetry
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 12 Jan 2023 (and 5 other dates)

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

    Relatively new to writing poetry? This inspiring course offers an opportunity to experiment with language and a variety of poetic devices alongside fellow emerging poets. Discover the key elements of a poem in a friendly and interactive class.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £209.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    94% of 100
  2. Writing for magazines
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 18 Jan 2023 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Susan Grossman
    Get inspired to write on this practical course for freelance journalists and bloggers. Learn to carry out research, interview people, pitch and publish stories, and build your presence on social media.



    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
  3. Writing a memoir: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 13 Jan 2023 (and 3 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Nick Barlay
    Some moments in our lives are so powerful they beg to be shared with the world. This course will help you plan and craft a memoir that will resonate and inspire.



    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:
    96% of 100
  4. Get together and read
    Course start date:  Thu 19 Jan 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Claire Allen
    Enjoy talking with other people about the things you have read? Want to share great stories, poems and drama? Come along and join the conversation. The group is led by a shared reading practitioner trained by The Reader Organisation.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £50.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  5. Reading Images: Exploring Film studies
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 11 Jan 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Cristina Massaccesi
    This comprehensive introductory course provides an overview of the main historical, technical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking and film analysis.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  6. City Lit Evening Reading Group
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 26 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Claire Allen
    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 Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Monthly meetings on 26 Sept, 24 Oct, 28 Nov; 16 Jan, 20 Feb, 20 March, 08 May, 12 June, and 10 July.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £90.00
  7. City Lit reading group 2
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Fri 30 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Patricia Sweeney
    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 Harlem Shuffle' by Colson Whitehead. Monthly meetings take place on 30 Sept, 4 Nov, 09 Dec; 27 Jan, 3 March, 31 March, 5 May, 2 June and 7 July.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £151.00 Concession £123.00
  8. Great American Stories
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Mon 9 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    The short story is America’s outstanding literary form. The explosion of magazines in the 19th century led to a huge market in stories “to be taken down with a gulp.” Many of its greatest writers specialised in the form – including Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, James Baldwin, John Cheever, William Faulkner and Lorrie Moore – and made it a vivid barometer of American life.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  9. Contemporary cinema: the best films of the year
    Course start date:  Mon 9 Jan 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    A crucial course on contemporary/current cinema which coincides with the wide range of films released immediately before the Bafta/Oscar awards season. A weekly ‘what’s on’ previews these films and reviews films seen in the previous weeks. The first session is the drawing up of a definitive student list of the best films of the past year. This course is now more timely than ever as we continue return to cinemas and to the classroom at Keeley Street.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  10. Manuscripts and illumination
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Plant
    Explore the techniques and styles used in producing manuscripts, from their earliest appearance to the 16th century. We'll consider the ways in which manuscripts were used and ask why such lavish attention was paid to them.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £87.00 Concession £71.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  11. Ulysses: Nostos - the Homecoming
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Tobin Brothers
    To meet the challenge of reading Joyce, this online literature course will offer strategies and engage the second half of Ulysses to inspire both the new reader of Joyce and those revisiting his passionate experimentation.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
  12. European architecture in the Middle Ages 800-1500
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Plant
    Explore the development of architecture in Europe from the Carolingian period to the end of the middle ages and study the major monuments – cathedrals, parish churches and castles of the age.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £71.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  13. Transports of delight: London's railway stations
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Blended (learn both online and in-person) (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    London's stations see over 1 billion journeys annually, but the buildings themselves are often ignored. Explore a different station and environs each week, discovering the architecture, history, stories and future of these lifelines of London. The course starts with an initial zoom lecture followed by a series of walking tours.



    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 £189.00 Senior fee £151.00 Concession £95.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. Paper Secrets: letters in novels from Julian Barnes to Tayari Jones
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Kate Wilkinson
    Would you ever open other people’s letters? This contemporary fiction course invites you to read intimate correspondence over characters’ shoulders, to piece together the stories of long-forgotten letters, and to watch stolen letters set comic and catastrophic events in motion. We’ll study four absorbing novels in detail, exploring ideas about memory, time and communication, and discovering how letters are tangled up in them all. Includes



    Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011), Claire Fuller, Swimming Lessons (2017), Denis Thériault, The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman (2017) and Tayari Jones, An American Marriage (2018).
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £90.00
  15. Families, feuds and fictions
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 10 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    “When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.” - Polish Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz; “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” - Leo Tolstoy







    Unsurprisingly, novelists have always gravitated towards the dramatic potential of dysfunctional families, , and some of the finest novels of modern times have explored the tensions, disappointments (even occasional joys) of family life.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00

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