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 long and short courses allowing you to choose between in-person and online learning.

Learn in the centre of London with our in-person courses. Our purpose-built facilities in Covent Garden mean we are ideally located and easy to get to. 

See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

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.

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  1. Global Encounters: The Early Crusades 1095-1204
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    We chart the fortunes of the first four crusades and the rise and fall of the kingdom of Jerusalem using Christian and Muslim sources. Why did these events occur and what were the consequences?



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  2. Japan at the pictures
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jean-Baptiste de Vaulx
    This course will introduce you to the cinema of Japan, one of the world’s most important national cinemas. It will introduce you to films by major Japanese directors, such as Kurosawa, Ozu, Mizoguchi and Kitano. It will also explore the aesthetics of these films, situating them within their broader historical, cultural, critical and industrial contexts. It will also look at the functioning of genre and the peculiarities of the star system within Japanese filmmaking.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00
  3. Global encounters: the Silk Roads
    Course start date:  Tue 17 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    Travel nearly 2000 years of history along the Silk Roads across Eurasia and China and explore the cross-cultural impact generated through the expansion of trade.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  4. Memoir Fiction: Karl Ove Knausgaard, Martin Amis, Philip Roth
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Lewis Ward
    We will discuss questions of memory, history and genre through readings of three fascinating examples of ‘memoir fiction’: Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family, Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, and Martin Amis’ Inside Story.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £110.00
  5. Writing from Life: memoir, autofiction, novels
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Kate Wilkinson
    What do we want and expect from life stories? On this online literature course we’ll read a selection of fascinating books and extracts, which experiment in different ways to combine stories of personal experience and literary invention. As well as memoirs the course includes ‘autofiction’ – a description for the work of novelists whose material is, explicitly, their own life – and we’ll explore this tricky and sometimes controversial category of writing. We’ll think too about some of the ethical and cultural questions that writing from life can raise, including privacy and a right of reply, and think about factors that may affect a book’s critical reception.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £110.00
  6. It Can't Happen Here: Sinclair Lewis, Philip Roth, Muriel Spark
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Alexander Fairbairn-Dixon
    Explore three ground-breaking works of ‘speculative’ prose fiction, each offering a highly innovative examination of C20 American political populism. From bitter satire, unnerving dystopia, to the lightly comic, we’ll see how the texts embody genuine anxieties of authoritarianism in America. Surely,- ‘it can’t happen here’?
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  7. The many sides of London's West End
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Richard Watkins
    A course of walking tours of London’s West End showing its development from the seventeenth century, how its profile has ebbed and flowed, looking at it through specific themes.



    First meeting place: Covent Garden tube, outside exit on James Street.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  8. An introduction to the classic trio of British empiricists: John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume
    Course start date:  Tue 1 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Cristina Paterno
    Join this course and discover the work of John Locke, the founder of British Empiricism; George Berkeley and his famous view on perception; and David Hume’s fork of ‘relations of ideas' and 'matters of fact'.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  9. Contemporary Global Literature
    Course start date:  Tue 29 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Are you curious about reading literature from across the world? Would you like to encounter some of the world’s finest literary works, reading across cultures and national borders? This in-college course will introduce you to the study of global literature. Over six weeks, we’ll explore what ‘global literature’ is, and we’ll read brilliant contemporary literary works from across the world.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  10. Global encounters: meet the Mongols
    Course start date:  Tue 29 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    At its height the Mongol empire stretched from the Sea of Japan to eastern Europe. We explore how the Mongols interacted with the nations they conquered.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  11. Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  12. Still life in the history of art: opulence and fragility
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Nov 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    Still-life paintings usually represent ordinary things, often small and arranged on an indoor surface, without human presence. Long regarded in western art as the lowliest subject or “genre”, one that only required technical skill rather than imagination, still lifes are now considered some of the most charming and best loved paintings and can contain intriguing meanings that repay close study.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  13. Discovering Victorian London: empire, enterprise and education
    Course start date:  Tue 7 May 2024

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

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    Victorian London shaped today's city. Discover the lasting legacy of the Victorian age, uncover its secrets, and meet some of the characters who created one of the world's greatest cities.



    Initial lecture via zoom followed by 7 guided walks.



    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 £179.00 Senior fee £143.00 Concession £116.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
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