Culture, history & humanities

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 in-person and online learning.

Learn in the centre of London with our in-person courses. Our purpose-built facilities in Covent Garden mean we are ideally located and easy to get to. 

See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

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.

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  1. The men who built London
    Course start date:  Thu 12 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    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.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  2. City of words: London's literary landscape
    Course start date:  Thu 12 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    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.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  3. Everyday Life in the Middle Ages 1200-1600
    Course start date:  Fri 20 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    We look at the history of everyday objects such as forks and spectacles and pastimes including playing cards, and swimming.



    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 £110.00
  4. The many sides of London's West End
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Richard Watkins
    A course of walking tours of London’s West End showing its development from the seventeenth century, how its profile has ebbed and flowed, looking at it through specific themes.



    First meeting place: Covent Garden tube, outside exit on James Street.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  5. Memoir Fiction: Karl Ove Knausgaard, Martin Amis, Philip Roth
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Lewis Ward
    We will discuss questions of memory, history and genre through readings of three fascinating examples of ‘memoir fiction’: Karl Ove Knausgaard’s A Death in the Family, Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, and Martin Amis’ Inside Story.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £110.00
  6. Writing from Life: memoir, autofiction, novels
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Kate Wilkinson
    What do we want and expect from life stories? On this online literature course we’ll read a selection of fascinating books and extracts, which experiment in different ways to combine stories of personal experience and literary invention. As well as memoirs the course includes ‘autofiction’ – a description for the work of novelists whose material is, explicitly, their own life – and we’ll explore this tricky and sometimes controversial category of writing. We’ll think too about some of the ethical and cultural questions that writing from life can raise, including privacy and a right of reply, and think about factors that may affect a book’s critical reception.



    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 £110.00
  7. It Can't Happen Here: Sinclair Lewis, Philip Roth, Muriel Spark
    Course start date:  Tue 24 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Alexander Fairbairn-Dixon
    Explore three ground-breaking works of ‘speculative’ prose fiction, each offering a highly innovative examination of C20 American political populism. From bitter satire, unnerving dystopia, to the lightly comic, we’ll see how the texts embody genuine anxieties of authoritarianism in America. Surely,- ‘it can’t happen here’?
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  8. Shakespeare: King Lear and The Tempest
    Course start date:  Wed 25 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sophie Oxenham
    Join us to explore two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, his tragedy King Lear, and his late ‘romance’, The Tempest. We’ll consider the connections – and differences - between these works, thinking about Shakespeare’s use of genre and language, the historical contexts, changing critical perspectives, and aspects of the plays in performance.



    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 £135.00 Concession £110.00
  9. Reading Shakespeare: a director's perspective - Romeo and Juliet and the Taming of the Shrew
    Course start date:  Wed 25 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Laura Baggaley
    Take a fresh look at Shakespeare, exploring selected plays in the company of an experienced theatre director. With performance in mind, we will examine the language and themes of two plays and discuss the extraordinary variety to be found within Shakespeare’s work.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £129.00
  10. Cultureplex ciné-club
    Course start date:  Thu 26 Sep 2024 (and 2 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 (and throughout the academic year), 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 £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £162.00
  11. Exploring literature: an introduction to prose and poetry
    Course start date:  Thu 26 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Kate Wilkinson
    This course introduces you to a range of prose and poetry from the nineteenth century to the present. Learn about how poems work, both ‘on the page’ and as spoken words. Reading novels and short stories, we’ll explore characterisation, the social and historical contexts of the works and writers’ techniques. Come and discover what’s distinctive about different forms of literature.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  12. Nineteenth Century American Literary Classics
    Course start date:  Fri 27 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    This class explores the wonderful world of 19th century American literature, reading classic texts to broaden knowledge of literary history through a range of influential novels, stories, and poems. Among the writers considered in their literary, political, and cultural contexts will be Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, and Mark Twain.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  13. Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £103.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  14. Nineteenth century French fiction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 30 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Megan Beech
    Greed, ambition, social mobility, and complexity of family structures: these are the key issues at play in the three French novels we will discuss in this course. Focusing on Stendhal's The Red and the Black (1830), Balzac's La Cousine Bette (1846) and Flaubert's Sentimental Education (1869). We'll explore the evolution of French literary style and social mores over the course of the 19th Century, thinking about representations of gender, marriage, social class and wealth along the way.



    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 £110.00
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