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 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. Writing romance
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 1 Jun 2023 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sophie McKenzie
    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  2. All that Jazz: American Beat writing
    Evening
    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
  3. Being and beauty: the philosophy of Japanese aesthetics
    Course start date:  Thu 15 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Goff
    Not something apart from everyday life but intrinsic to it, beauty in Japanese thought does not entail perfection but the surprise of imperfect and transient being.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  4. The men who built London
    Course start date:  Thu 14 Sep 2023

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

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    London was shaped by its architects, engineers, bricklayers, navies etc. Our lecture and walks examine London’s buildings and the men (and women) who worked throughout history to create this eclectic and wonderful city.



    London guide: Eleanor Jackson



    First lecture will be delivered via zoom followed by 8 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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. City of words: London's literary landscape
    Course start date:  Thu 14 Sep 2023

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

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    London has been muse, magnet and mecca to writers for 400 years, home to Shakespeare's successes, Dickens' dramas and Wilde's witticisms. After an introductory lecture (via zoom) we walk a different London neighbourhood each week exploring its literary connections. Initial lecture is on zoom . This is 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:
    98% of 100
  6. Film studies taster
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Sep 2023 (and 7 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Learn how to evaluate and discuss films while enjoying a working example of a City Lit Film Studies class. In this class we will view and explore clips from a number of films, including popular remakes, enabling us to consider and compare themes and techniques from differing filmmaking countries. There will be a chance to review – in brief – film courses at City Lit (September - December 2023).
    Full fee £10.00
  7. Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. Cultureplex ciné-club
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 27 Apr 2023 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Come and join us at the Cultureplex Ciné-Club, where once a week, for 12 weeks, we will watch and discuss film. Taking its cue from the famous Parisian ciné-club set up by the celebrated critic and writer, André Bazin, ‘the single thinker most responsible for bestowing on cinema the prestige both of an artform and of an object of knowledge’, and the man who foresaw the emergence of film studies as a legitimate discipline of academic study, our contemporary incarnation of the film club will offer a curated series of films for detailed study, discussion and debate. Each film will be introduced, placed in both its cinematic, cultural and historic context. In sharing our viewing in City Lit’s premier screening room, the Cultureplex, we will approximate the experience of watching film in the cinema, one that is intense and fully focussed in a way that other modes of viewing often are not. After the screening we will devote the rest of the class to a collective exploration of the film, led by the tutor, but involving everyone in a participatory discussion that will allow all to express their responses, their views, their thoughts on the film screened.
    Full fee £199.00
  9. Make it new: European and American modernism
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 28 Sep 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Woody River
    Modernism was a period defined by radical thinking boldly proclaimed in manifestos and expressed through a variety of different art forms. Within literature, pre-conceived notions of narrative and syntax were challenged, characters were developed using insights drawn from psychology, and poets explored the visual representation of their words on the page. As boundaries were extended, new ‘isms’ were born. Through following the development of Modernist literature in Europe and America, this course will compare the changes in the written word to the changes occurring within art, architecture, music and film.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £229.00 Senior fee £229.00 Concession £149.00
  10. Get together and read
    Course start date:  Thu 4 May 2023 (and 3 other dates)

    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
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  11. The 60 minute writer: intensive
    Course start date:  Thu 5 Oct 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Lucy Popescu
    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.



    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
  12. Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00
  13. Contemporary Ukrainian fiction and poetry
    Course start date:  Thu 19 Oct 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Stephen Winfield
    Explore major novels and short fictions by three leading figures, Yevgenia Belorusets, Serhiy Zhadan and Andrey Kurkov, placing the context of modern Ukrainian literature as a whole, the remarkable flowering that followed independence in 1991 and the resilience and imaginative vitality of its poets and novelists in face of the escalating conflict from 2014.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £119.00 Concession £97.00
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