History, culture & writing

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 writing creative non-fiction and American history and politics.

Study online from the comfort of home, with interactive classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long. For more information, please see our guide to online learning.

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 online now.

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  1. History of the world for beginners
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 31 May 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Recent events have shown us that we must think globally. Yet, how do we go about that with regards to history? Do we think only about the global past or do we situate our understanding in the global present? And if we can even agree on that, do we give primacy to empires and imperialism, technology and arms, trade and finances, oceans and nature, power and resistance, people or systems, or all of them?

    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 £61.00
  2. Black Women's Writing
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 7 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Black Women’s Writing is a course that seeks to highlight and celebrate the literature of Black British and American women writers from the early twenty-first century to today. We will explore the writing: the style, structure and form, and the myriad themes at the heart of these texts, including feminism, race, family, and love. Writers include: Bernardine Evaristo, Audre Lorde, Natasha Gordon, Christina Sharpe, Warsan Shire and bell hooks.

    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 £54.00
  3. Tales of transformation: Ovid’s Metamorphoses
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 7 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    A short course examining one of the masterpieces of Latin literature, the idiosyncratic epic poem "Metamorphoses", which offers a sweeping history of the world from its creation to the time of the emperor Augustus. Ovid’s narrative moves seamlessly through time and space, with transformation the common denominator of the stories he and his internal narrators tell. In this world of constant flux, everything changes shape: gods disguise themselves as animals; humans are transformed into birds, flowers, trees, and stones; and the landscape is regularly renewed.

    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 £79.00 Concession £60.00
  4. The Contemporary African Novel
    Course Date:  Mon 7 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course examines a selection of African novels from the late 20th to the early 21st century and some of the concepts, issues and ideas that inform them. In works from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana, we will explore how gender, sexuality, class, and race are portrayed in the contemporary context and how these depictions are influenced by past understandings from these respective countries. Authors include Buchi Emecheta, J.M. Coetzee and Yaa Gyasi.

    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 £60.00
  5. The American Dream
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 7 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This survey course charts the influences on the development of the American Dream from the founding of the Republic to the 21st century, identifying significant historical events that altered its meaning and availability.

    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 £44.00
  6. The Unsettled Imagination: exploring Gothic literature
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 12 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Eerie atmospherics; fear; curses; nightmares; confused perceptions; a damsel in distress; a brooding, fallen hero; creaking staircases in seemingly deserted, rain-lashed mansions. Gothic fiction is seen as full of stereotypes. It is actually complex, brilliant, and related to contemporary real-world shenanigans. This course considers classic 18th-19th Century Gothic writing.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  7. Bruce Chatwin: persona, storytelling and literary style
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 19 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Through close readings of Chatwin’s ground-breaking travel books In Patagonia (1977) and The Songlines (1987), alongside extracts from letters, biographies and other sources, we will explore and analyse the techniques that created one of the most important and controversial literary figures of the twentieth century.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  8. Film Noir to Neo Noir: the long hot summer
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 2 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    'Body Heat', 'Chinatown', 'The Long Goodbye'. Three films, two sessions, one topic: neo-Noir.

    Film noir first appeared in Hollywood in the early 1940s then vanished in the late 50's. Neo-noir was the 70's revival of film noir, updating the themes of political corruption and darkness at the top. Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe would not feel out of place in Chinatown or southern Florida’s 'Body Heat'. A dark and deadly dream of a nightmare vision for a post-Watergate America.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £49.00 Concession £30.00
  9. Documentary Thrillers: a new genre
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 10 May 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Documentaries can be every bit as entertaining and suspenseful as a Hitchcock thriller. What happens next, whose side are we on? The Insider and Dark Waters are suspense films based on shocking historical events but recent documentaries Touching the Void and Searching for Sugar Man are equally gripping thrillers. For Sama is a documentary and Capernaum a fiction film but both share the neorealism of Bicycle Thieves.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00
  10. Ways into screenwriting
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 19 Apr 2021 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Learn to write for the screen on this practical, introductory course. Writing exercises, presentations and screenings will teach you key skills, and you’ll begin to produce work and an outline for a full-length project.

    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 £84.00
    Rating:
    94% of 100
  11. Starting your novel
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 19 Apr 2021 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    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.

    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 £84.00
    Rating:
    94% of 100

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