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. The 60 minute writer
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 20 Apr 2021 (and 9 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Fit creative writing into your busy day: a relaxed, informal rolling programme for writers of all levels of experience who enjoy being thrown new ideas and experimenting with poetry and prose.

    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 £40.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  2. What do mathematicians do? An introduction to philosophy of maths
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course offers the opportunity to explore fascinating questions concerning the nature of mathematical knowledge by providing an introduction to four major 19th and 20th century philosophies of mathematics.

    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. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 23 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Read and discuss celebrated short stories each week for 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.

    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
  4. American Gothic Cinema
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 25 Sep 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore American gothic cinema, past and present, through a range of key films, and discuss issues such as genre (including horror, mystery and melodrama), gender, narrative and film style. In doing so, we will consider the contexts of classical and post-classical Hollywood in which these films were produced, while also thinking about a range of critical accounts of American gothic cinema.

    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. City Lit Evening Reading Group
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 28 Sep 2020 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first session with suggestions (contemporary fiction in paperback) and having read The Offing by Benjamin Myers. Monthly meetings on 27 Sept, 25 Oct, 29 Nov; 17 Jan, 21 Feb, 28 March, 09 May, 13 June, and 11 July.

    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 £79.00
  6. The story of Christianity: history, beliefs, practices
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 2 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore the origins and development of Christianity and its defining beliefs. We will look at the person of Jesus Christ, the Bible, the Church and key ideas such as the Trinity.

    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
  7. Hannah Arendt: On Violence and politics
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 2 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    “ … power always stands in need of numbers, whereas violence … relies on implements.” “The extreme form of power is All against One, the extreme form of violence is One against All.”.

    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. Masters of cinema: Roberto Rossellini - the great visionary of Italian cinema
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 3 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Give yourself a chance to explore the unforgettable cinematic vision of Roberto Rossellini, covering all his major Neorealist films up to his last historical films for TV. Roberto Rossellini (b. Italy, 1906–1977) is a key artist of the mid-twentieth century whose contribution to cinema is inestimable and whose influence on other directors, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Martin Scorsese, is profound. Over his forty-year career Rossellini’s films took several broad turns, from his Neorealist masterworks of war and its immediate aftermath to the extraordinary melodramas he made with Ingrid Bergman to “didactic” works made for television about men whose ideas altered the course of civilization (Jesus, Socrates, Pascal, Descartes). Rossellini’s films are characterized by their inflection of “actuality” (shooting on location and casting everyday people alongside professional actors), recognition of the mystery of human behaviour, belief in spiritual transcendence, and desire to stimulate audiences’ curiosity.

    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
  9. The Bible and the big questions
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 9 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore key biblical passages which inform some of the big moral and theological questions and learn principles in biblical interpretation for addressing these questions.

    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
  10. Travel writing: a taster
    Course Date:  Thu 3 Jun 2021 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    You love travelling and taking photos but how do you decide what to write about and which pictures will sell? This course will give you the skills you need to approach editors with confidence.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £55.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £22.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  11. John Keats: 'The Vale of Soul-Making'
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 9 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Keats pursued – vigorously and brilliantly – questions related to ultimate truths. We shall consider a representative selection of his poetry and letters, reflecting on how their creative insights can help to illuminate our own experience and aspirations.

    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  12. Craft focus: character in fiction
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 9 Oct 2021 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    In fiction, character and plot are inseparable elements of craft. Without characters in stories there can be no action, and without characters acting there can be no plot. In this course you'll learn how to create characters that can drive a narrative forward and deepen its themes.

    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:
    95% of 100
  13. From Page to Screen: Frankenstein and the Phantom of the Opera
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sat 9 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    They say ‘never judge a book, by its movie’. In this spooky Halloween inspired double bill we will explore two classic Gothic novels Frankenstein (1818, Mary Shelley) which could also be considered one of the first science-fiction novels and The Phantom of the Opera (1910, Gaston Leroux). We will have a look at how these two novels have been translated from page to screen by various filmmakers from the past 100+ years of filmmaking.

    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
  14. The haunted screen: German Expressionist Cinema 1919-1933
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 10 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore one of cinema's most imaginative and influential movements through films such as The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Nosferatu, Metropolis, M and others. We will consider the production context of German cinema in the period 1919 to 1933 and expressionism as its defining style, key filmmakers associated with the movement and critical accounts of both the films and the movement as a whole.

    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. City Lit reading group (online)
    Course Date:  Fri 15 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first

    online session with suggestions (contemporary fiction in paperback) and having read 'Hamnet' by Maggie O'Farrell. Monthly meetings take place on 15/10, 19/11/21, 04/02, 04/03/22.

    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 £71.00 Concession £54.00

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