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. The City of London: the Square Mile
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Thu 6 Oct 2022 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Paul Sinclair
    Explore the City’s development from Roman and medieval times through to the Tudors and Stuarts.



    This course will comprise of 10 walks starting with Roman London.



    First meeting place at Monument station on the Monument side. First meeting place at Monument station on the Monument side.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £167.00 Concession £105.00
  2. The 60 minute writer
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 28 Sep 2022 (and 10 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Anna Richards
    Fit creative writing into your busy day: a relaxed, informal rolling programme for writers of all levels of experience who enjoy being thrown new ideas and experimenting with poetry and prose.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  3. The Viking Age in 50 objects, c. 750-1100 CE
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Cassidy Croci
    We will explore how people lived, worshiped, fought, and identified themselves in the Viking Age (c. 750-1100 CE) using 50 objects.



    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 £45.00
  4. Avant-garde women: art innovations of the 20th & 21st centuries
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Irina Chkhaidze
    Discover the work of prominent modern and contemporary women artists from the early twentieth century to the present, looking at the political and social transformations reflected in the artworks.



    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
  5. Exploring literature: An introduction to prose and poetry
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Kate Wilkinson
    This course introduces you to a variety of prose texts and poems from the nineteenth century to the present. Explore how poems work both ‘on the page’ and as spoken words. Reading prose, we’ll explore narrative technique, characterisation and social context. Come and discover what’s distinctive about these different forms of literature. Includes 'Washington Square' by Henry James, 'Mrs. Dalloway' by Virginia Woolf and a range of short stories and poetry.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  6. City Lit at the BFI: screen horrors - screen monsters
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 20 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  BFI Southbank

    Tutors:  Stacey Abbott
    From the ghostly apparitions of George Méliès’ Le Manoir du Diable (1896) to Ana Lily Amirpour’s skateboarding vampire in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) to Jordan Peele’s uncanny encounters in Us (2019), horror on screen has been home to ghosts, vampires, zombies, aliens, and other monsters, visualising our nightmares and repressed desires. This eight-week course will accompany a season of films at the BFI devoted to the genre and will examine horror’s visceral pleasures; its capacity to thrill, transgress, and provoke; and its ability to express fear, anxiety, identity, and rage. Drawing upon examples from global horror cinema, this course will explore why screen horror is the most disreputable and compelling of genres.



    Please note this course will have a break week on Thursday 3 November due to the London Film festival.











    Please note that some of the films studied on this course contain graphic imagery. While care will be taken in the presentation of sequences from these films and in the discussions around them, please be aware that some of the material will be unsettling.



    Please note that this 8 week course will break for a week on Thursday 3rd November, but will resume the following week on Thursday 10th November. Your tutor will remind you of this at the beginning of the course.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £189.00 Concession £189.00
  7. The Early Roman Emperors
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 20 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sean Gabb
    Discover the Roman Empire under the government of the Julio-Claudian dynasty – from Augustus to Nero.



    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 £103.00 Concession £84.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. Rise and fall of the Spanish global empire
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 20 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Michael Schraer
    How and why Spain won – and lost - the world’s first truly global empire; its impact on the Spanish colonies and on Spain itself; how far it acted as a model for the empires that followed.



    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 £70.00
  9. Biography writing
    Course start date:  Thu 1 Jun 2023 (and 1 other date)

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

    Tutors:  Robert Fraser
    What makes a great biography? Learn to experiment with your own life writing as you uncover the techniques and methods of this exciting genre with a professional biographer.



    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:
    100% of 100
  10. Creative non-fiction: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 1 Jun 2023 (and 3 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Claire Collison
    This short introductory course explores the core elements of creative non-fiction across genres such as travel writing, the personal essay and life writing.



    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:
    95% of 100
  11. Ways into poetry: a gentle pace
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 2 Mar 2023 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Eleanor Penny
    Are you brand new to writing poetry? Do you want to build your confidence in a supportive environment alongside other beginners in the craft? This gentle short course guides students taking their first steps on the path to becoming a poet.



    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 £45.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  12. Ways into creative writing: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Feb 2023 (and 11 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Natasha Bell
    Not sure whether creative writing is for you? Give it a try on one of these fun and supportive short courses covering the basics of fiction and poetry. Increase your confidence and produce work through guided exercises and discussion.



    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:
    93% of 100
  13. Writing romance
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 1 Jun 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Eleanor Penny
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a single pen can compose an unforgettable romance novel. This six-week course will guide students through the plotting of modern romance stories.



    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:
    100% of 100
  14. The Reformation: reassessing the reign of Henry VIII
    Course start date:  Thu 3 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Portrayed as both an icon and a tyrant in portraits, cartoons, novels films and on television, Henry VIII is one of England’s most instantly recognisable kings. However, fictitious portraits have in many ways obscured the more serious side of Henry, particularly his own religious beliefs and his Reformation legacies.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £70.00
  15. Venetian art of the 15th-16th centuries: beauty, splendour and light
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 3 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Emma Rose Barber
    Join us for a sumptuous celebration of sumptuous Venetian painting. Discover the painting of this elegant culture built on a fragile lagoon where sea and sky meet, and where light and mist collide.



    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 £111.00 Concession £90.00

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