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.

Study in-person at City Lit or offsite, or 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 on our online courses, 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 now.

Some of our courses take place in the classroom — learn more about Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit.

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  1. The art of writing the personal essay
    Last Few Places, ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 12 Feb 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Katie Da Cunha Lewin
    Follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Parker, George Orwell and Zadie Smith with this taster course on the personal essay, a continuously thriving genre of autobiographical writing.



    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 £28.00
    Rating:
    80% of 100
  2. Craft focus: dialogue in fiction
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 13 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Maria Thomas
    When your characters speak, what are they really saying? Develop that all-important ‘ear for dialogue’ through writing exercises and analysis of proven techniques.



    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 £28.00
  3. Craft focus: voice in fiction
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 20 Feb 2022 (and 1 other date)

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

    Tutors:  Tasha Kavanagh
    All fiction must speak to us as readers. It must communicate atmosphere and plot, character and layers of meaning. Naturally, this means it must have a 'voice,' a complex mix of elements that, together, give the piece its unique identity. In this one-day course learn what 'voice' really means in fiction and how to develop a voice for your story that can capture the attention of readers.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £28.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  4. Focus on: the art of Siena
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 27 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    The golden panels of the Sienese masters are immediately identifiable but why was their work so different? Today we explore the art of Siena, its world, its symbolism and how it was made.



    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 £55.00 Concession £42.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. Writing women in the 21st century (in celebration of International Women's Day)
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 6 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sophie McKenzie
    Celebrate strong women for International Women's Day with this inclusive one-off session on how to create your own, powerful fictional women. Please note: this course will have a 2-hr break from 12:30-14:30.



    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 £28.00
  6. Focus on: Indian court fashion from the 16th to 18th century
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 6 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Anita Chowdry
    Study the distinctive sartorial identity of court attire under the early Mughal emperors of India, and its development from a fusion of Central Asian, Iranian and Indian traditions in textiles and dress.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00
  7. The Godfather at 50
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 13 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    The critical and commercial success of The Godfather raised the prestige of the gangster and crime genre, but the film has also become a cultural as well as a cinematic landmark. This course explores the film's epic narrative, its reworking of a popular genre, and both its critical and cultural reputation, while also considering its production in the context of the 'new' Hollywood of the 1970s.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00
  8. Self-publishing: a taster
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 20 Mar 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Helen Cox
    Want to keep full creative control of your writing project? Learn more about self-publishing and how to give your book (poetry, fiction or non-fiction) the best chance of achieving high sales.



    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 £28.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  9. Writing historical fiction
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 20 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jonathan Barnes
    Dig into the past to craft historical fiction that speaks vividly to contemporary readers. From Hilary Mantel to C.J. Sansom, learn techniques writers use to turn historical record into compelling fiction.



    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 £28.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  10. The female gaze in cinema
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 20 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mary Wild
    A guide to contemporary films directed by women, examined through a psychoanalytic lens. An opportunity to discuss the ways in which cinema can continue to evolve to more authentically depict female desire, fears and subjectivity.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00
  11. Craft focus: narrative time in fiction
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 27 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jonathan Barnes
    All fiction is bound by time: a story must begin and it must end. What happens in between is up to the writer. In this practical short course learn how time functions in fiction and, through practical writing exercises, how you can manipulate it to great effect. Suitable for those with some creative writing experience.



    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 £28.00
  12. Focus on: iconography
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 3 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Ever wondered whether there’s a hidden meaning behind paintings? Discover why there are signs and symbols in paintings and how to find and interpret their meanings in medieval and Renaissance art.



    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 £55.00 Concession £42.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  13. Craft focus: grammar, syntax and style for creative writers - a taster
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 1 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Emma Park
    Great poetry and prose begin when the writer puts the right words in the right places. Learn how and why the rules and conventions of language matter in this new course, which combines creative writing with opportunities to learn/revise essential points of grammar and useful literary concepts. Suitable for beginning writers looking to build confidence, and those with more experience who would like to practise these essential skills.



    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 £28.00
  14. Masters of Cinema: early Fellini
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 8 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Graham Rinaldi
    Federico Fellini: cartoonist, journalist, humourist, screenwriter, director. Come on a journey of film discovery with Italian cinema’s most celebrated film-maker; from coastal Rimini via war-torn Rome to the international awards circuit.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00
  15. Writing a short film
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 15 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Sharmila Chauhan
    Would you like to write a script for a short film? This short course offers an insight into the fundamentals of screenwriting through tutor input, writing exercises, group work and discussion.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £28.00

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