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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. Craft focus: how to edit your story (fiction and non-fiction)
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 5 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Editing is an essential skill for any writer. Learn the different types of editing process and how to polish your own prose in this workshop for writers who are ready to find a readership for their work. Suitable for those with some experience of creative writing. (Please note this course includes a 2-hour break.).



    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
  2. Russian poets: Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 23 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    An evaluation, through close reading and discussion, of some of the most celebrated verse of the Silver Age, the Soviet Revolutionary period and the decades of Stalinism. What is it about the individual poems that cast a spell over so many of their contemporaries and the generations that followed? What do they tell us about the human spirit and the value of art in a time of catastrophic upheaval?



    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
  3. Heist Movies: crime thrillers
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 23 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    1950’s Hollywood began with The Asphalt Jungle (1950) just as The Maltese Falcon (1941) had kickstarted the forties. John Huston directed both — the first film noir and then the first heist film. Did he pull it off? Kubrick thought so, and made The Killing (1956), a rock-hard-boiled thriller built around Asphalt’s mastermind star, Sterling Hayden. Emerging from the shadow of film noir with thrilling action scenes, heist suspense films continue to be one of cinema’s most exciting genres.



    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
  4. Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window: scene by scene
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 30 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Though a sophisticated entertainment mixing suspense, comedy and romance, Rear Window is also a sustained master class in Hitchcock's film style. This course will look at the film in its entirety, pausing to discuss key scenes and the array of techniques that Hitchcock employs to engage us in its action, while also considering its production, critical reputation and significance for film studies.



    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
  5. Nature, non-violence, interdependence: how much do you know about Jainism?
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 30 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    The Jain religion is non-theistic and believes in an everlasting soul and a material body. Its morality is based on non-violence and non-acquisition. The Jain aphorism ‘all life is interdependent’ is in tune with creating a peaceful and sustainable world.



    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 £26.00
  6. The art of writing the personal essay
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 12 Feb 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    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
  7. Craft focus: dialogue in fiction
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 13 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    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
  8. Craft focus: voice in fiction
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 20 Nov 2021 (and 2 other dates)

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

    All fiction must have a 'voice,' a complex mix of elements that, together, give the piece its unique identity. 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
  9. 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

    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
  10. The Godfather at 50
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 13 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    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
  11. Self-publishing: a taster
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 20 Mar 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    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
  12. The female gaze in cinema
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 20 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    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
  13. Craft focus: narrative time in fiction
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 27 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    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
  14. 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

    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
  15. Masters of Cinema: early Fellini
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 8 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    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

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