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.

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, you’ll receive the same great City Lit experience. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online 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.

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  1. Art history taster
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 19 Oct 2022 (and 15 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Curious about art history? Join us for this taster session where we explore different ways into visual art and its histories, from the ancient to the contemporary.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  2. The 60 minute writer
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Oct 2022 (and 11 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Tasha Kavanagh
    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 £50.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  3. Starting your novel
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Oct 2022 (and 5 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Vicky Grut
    Got a great idea for a novel? Jump start your project in this supportive course that covers craft basics such as character and plot. Ideal for writers of fiction with some experience who have an idea for a novel.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £209.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    94% of 100
  4. Short story writing
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Oct 2022 (and 8 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Vicky Grut
    A hands-on introduction to the art of writing short stories. You will receive technical advice, creative exercises to generate ideas, and feedback to develop your writing skills.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £209.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  5. The Legacy of Lord Reith: The BBC and Public Service Broadcasting
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 1 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Paul Rixon
    This two-week course explores John Reith’s role in helping to set up the British Broadcasting Company (1922) and its transformation into the British Broadcasting Corporation (1927) as well as his ideas relating to what contribution broadcasting should make to national life. We will reflect on how influential his ideas of public service have been for British Broadcasting, as well as other national systems around the world, and how important they might still be in the digital age.



    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 £38.00
  6. Symbolist Poetry: a season in Hell
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 2 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott
    The pandemic has made many people feel as though we are living in a slow apocalypse – but looking back at similar feelings experienced by the poets of the late nineteenth century can help to put things into perspective. This weekend online course looks at a selection of the Symbolist poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, Arthur Symons and Charles Baudelaire, considering their contemporary struggles and how, through these often initially morbid fin de siècle poems, we might find some light at the end of the tunnel.



    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 £38.00
  7. The Heights of Dickens
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 2 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    Follow in Charles Dickens’ footsteps in a walk from Highgate to the hamlet of North End on the border with Hampstead and Hampstead Garden Suburb. We will follow some of Bill Sikes escape route after murdering Nancy in Oliver Twist, see houses that Dickens stayed in; learn about his friendship with philanthropist Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts; peep into Highgate Cemetery and follow the Gordon rioters in Barnaby Rudge towards Lord Mansfield’s country estate at Kenwood (Caen Wood).



    We will pass the Spaniard’s Inn, featured in the Pickwick Papers and continue across Hampstead Heath towards North End and Hendon. We finish in North End where we view the 17th century farmhouse that Dickens lodged in.



    Please note this walk is over 3 hours long and involved some steep ups and downs.



    starts Highgate on Green opposite the Woodman pub (414 Archway Rd, London N6 5UA), ends Bull and Bush pub, North End Road, NW3 ( between Golders Green and Hampstead.
    Full fee £39.00 Senior fee £31.00 Concession £25.00
  8. Reading for writers: the short story (a fortnightly course)
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 2 Oct 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vicky Grut
    The best way to write good short stories is to read a lot of good ones first. Dive into the best of short fiction, explore point-of-view, character and pacing, and begin to apply the lessons learnt to your own writing in this fortnightly course.



    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
  9. Masters of Cinema: Paolo Sorrentino
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 2 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Graham Rinaldi
    “Everything's important in a film, not just the shots. Even the sound man's mood or the quality of the catering.” Explore the virtuosic, melancholic cinema of Paolo Sorrentino from his early hypnotic and claustrophobic The Consequences of Love (2004) through his grandiose award winning The Great Beauty (2013) to his most personal and recent work, The Hand of God (2021).



    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 £38.00
  10. The power and influence of German art: from early medieval to early modern
    Course start date:  Mon 3 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Discover the art of Germany from medieval to modern and the variety of artists came be a major influence not just on Northern art but also the Italian Renaissance and ultimately all of European art.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £142.00
  11. What makes a masterpiece
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 3 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Look at works of art in the Western canon and ask why we consider them to be masterpieces. What formal qualities do they all share, if any, or is our interpretation of a masterpiece largely subjective?



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £219.00 Concession £142.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  12. From the Holy Roman Empire to the unification of Germany (the Middle Ages to 1871)
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 3 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Rudolf Muhs
    The course offers a broad survey of the German lands over the centuries from the Middle Ages to the Unification of



    Germany in 1871.



    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
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  13. Mexico: From the war of independence to the present
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Anna Grimaldi
    Want to know more about Mexico? Join us in this course where we look at the history of Mexico beginning with the first independence uprisings in the early 19th century until the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.



    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 £50.00
  14. History reading group: political biographies
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Zoe Quinn
    Through discussion of selected biographies we will explore in depth key individuals in world history , their legacy and the era in which they lived.The first class will discuss The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher and the End of the Cold War by Archie Brown (2022). As the edition is fairly recent, the cheapest version I have found (at the moment of writing this- 20/4/22) is on kindle.



    NOTE: This course consists of four sessions on the following dates:4/10/22, 29/11/22, 17/1/23 & 7/3/23.



    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 £35.00
  15. Making the American World: US foreign policy from the Cold War to Biden
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Oct 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jack Gain
    Follow the ascendancy of American power, from 1945 up to the Biden administration, through a history of wars, foreign interventions and “soft power”. Tutor: Jack Gain.



    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 £139.00 Concession £70.00

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