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 60 minute writer
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 21 Sep 2022 (and 11 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Tasha Kavanagh
    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 £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £50.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  2. 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:  Claire Collison
    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
  3. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    Read and discuss celebrated short stories each week for six weeks – discuss and explore what we understand might be the writers’ intentions, and what it means for us as readers – which can be quite different. Join us in sharing feelings about, and reactions to, a selection of classic and contemporary short stories and how they withstand the shifting context of readers, and time.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  4. Liars, heaps and surprise tests: an introduction to paradox
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Oliver Josiah
    A paradox is an apparently absurd conclusion derived from seemingly uncontroversial premises through supposedly valid reasoning. This course will introduce you to six major philosophical paradoxes and some of the attempts to solve them.



    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 £50.00
  5. Writing a memoir: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 8 Jun 2023 (and 4 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Julie Garton
    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
  6. Ways into poetry: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Feb 2023 (and 5 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Sarah Westcott
    Are you just starting to write poetry? This inspiring short course offers an opportunity to experiment with language and a variety of poetic devices. 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 £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £55.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  7. Starting your novel
    Course start date:  Tue 27 Sep 2022 (and 5 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Vicky Grut
    Got a great idea for a novel? Jump start your project in this supportive course that covers craft basics such as character and plot. Ideal for writers of fiction with some experience who have an idea for a novel.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £209.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    94% of 100
  8. City Lit at the BFI: screen horrors - screen monsters
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  BFI Southbank

    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 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.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £189.00 Concession £189.00
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Creative non-fiction: an introduction
    Course start date:  Wed 26 Oct 2022 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (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.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  12. 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
  13. Writing romance
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 2 Nov 2022 (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 interactive 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. French and Russian short stories
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 3 Nov 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    This class explores classic short stories from 19th century French and Russian literature, discussing literary style, themes, and contexts as a way of developing and sharing responses to celebrated European writing. Among the French writers examined will be Balzac, Flaubert, and Maupassant, with our Russians including Gogol, Turgenev, and Chekhov.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  15. World cinema
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 12 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Have you ever wondered what lies beyond Hollywood? Are you interested in films from across the globe? Then this six-week introductory course is for you. We will consider alternative cinemas to the dominant North American industry and will focus each week on a selection of illustrative films from movie producing continents such as India, Asia, South America and Africa.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £71.00

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