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 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. Exploring literature: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 31 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Niall Culligan
    In this introductory course, we will read and discuss Irish poetry from across the twentieth century, examining how poets responded to cultural and political issues, such as Irish Independence, religion, and the Troubles. Poets will include: W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Louis MacNeice, Patrick Kavanagh, Derek Mahon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and many others.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  2. Image and identity: 20th century Chinese art and cinema
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Meitao Qu
    Explore the art of Chinese artists and filmmakers from the turn of the 20th century to the turn of the 21st, as they try to make sense of a world on the cusp between the old and the new, marked by encounters with imperialism and iconoclasm. Learn what place art had in socio-political movements, and how it reflected the hopes and anxieties of its time.



    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
  3. Ancient cities St. Paul knew
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Thu 2 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Michael Bloomfield
    Discover eight intriguing ancient cities, amazing places to visit today, but raw and turbulent in their Graeco-Roman heyday.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £51.00
  4. Memories of authoritarian regimes in 20th Century Latin America
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 2 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Anna Grimaldi
    This course explores the aftermath of authoritarian and military regimes in Latin America, focusing on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala.



    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
  5. New Nature Writing in fiction and poetry
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 3 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  David Barnes
    In the last 15 years, a new type of nature writing emerged in the UK. It was personal, engaging, and examined the natural world and the environment in fresh and interesting ways. It promised to reconnect a younger generation with the world outside, and to raise awareness of ecological issues in an emotionally resonant way. Includes novels, poetry and memoir by Seamus Heaney, W.G. Sebald, Alice Oswald, Helen Macdonald. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Kathleen Jamie.



    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 £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  6. Heaven and hell in world religions
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 3 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    Compare and contrast the afterlife beliefs of the five major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Explore how these ideas developed and influenced each other.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £85.00
  7. America in the 30s: culture and society
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 7 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mark Malcomson, Mick McAloon, Dale Mineshima-Lowe, Trish Shaw, Patricia Sweeney, Ian Tucknott
    From the Great Depression to the New Deal, from Swing and big band music to gangster films and screwball comedies, this online intertextual course explores the political, social and cultural context of 1930s America through a study of literature, history, music, film and art of the period. With different tutors for each specialism, the course provides a 'taster' in each subject as a gateway to further study in understanding this fascinating period in American culture and society.



    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
  8. The Odyssey reading group (in translation)
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Homer’s epic tale of Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan War may now be over 2,500 years old but it still has much to tell us about the Ancient Greek world that is still relevant today. Explore this great work in translation.



    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:
    84% of 100
  9. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Course start date:  Mon 13 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    Read and discuss celebrated short stories over 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 £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  10. Picture book writing
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 21 Jan 2023 (and 6 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Lou Kuenzler
    Would you like to write a picture book text for young children? This course is designed for children's writers and for illustrators wishing to write their own stories; a starter course to develop both your ideas and your technique.



    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:
    98% of 100
  11. Writing horror
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 14 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jonathan Barnes
    Write to unsettle, in this six-week trip through the techniques of horror fiction, learning from classic horror authors and contemporary masters of the genre.



    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
  12. Creative non-fiction: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Feb 2023 (and 2 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Lucy Popescu
    This short introductory course explores the core elements of creative non-fiction across genres such as travel writing, the personal essay and life writing.



    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:
    95% of 100
  13. Introduction to journalism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Susan Grossman
    On this course students will explore the basic skills a freelance journalist needs to write and sell news and features to newspapers and magazines. From developing ideas and identifying outlets to interview skills and approaching editors.



    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
  14. The City of London: the Square Mile
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Paul Sinclair
    Explore the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666. Discover how London recovered from one of the great disasters and became a centre of commerce and the heart of a great empire. We follow in the steps of some of its best known characters like Doctor Johnson and Samuel Pepys and some lesser known including William Lilley and Thomas Chatterton. The course follows on from the HLW06 The City of London: the square mile, but new students are welcome. The first meeting place is Monument station, Fish Street Hill exit.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £85.00
  15. Ways into creative writing: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Feb 2023 (and 6 other dates)

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

    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

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