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 Contemporary African Novel
    Course Date:  Mon 7 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This course examines a selection of African novels from the late 20th to the early 21st century and some of the concepts, issues and ideas that inform them. In works from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana, we will explore how gender, sexuality, class, and race are portrayed in the contemporary context and how these depictions are influenced by past understandings from these respective countries. Authors include Buchi Emecheta, J.M. Coetzee and Yaa Gyasi.

    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 £60.00
  2. The American Dream
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 7 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This survey course charts the influences on the development of the American Dream from the founding of the Republic to the 21st century, identifying significant historical events that altered its meaning and availability.

    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 £44.00
  3. Contemporary fiction: letters in 21st century novels
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 8 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Contemporary fiction is full of letters. How do letters in novels explore our present world, and give us stories about the future? Come and read a selection of twenty-first century novels to delve into the uses, intricacies and attractions of fictional letters. Authors include Ian McEwan and Tayari Jones.

    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. The US and Latin America: from the Sandinista Revolution to Trump
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 9 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Uncover a dramatic history of coups, interventions and revolutionary struggles. This course unravels the key themes of US-Latin American relations from the 1970s up to Donald Trump's Presidency, brought to life by film clips, photography and primary sources. 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 £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £35.00
  5. Life writing: a taster
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 11 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This inspiring workshop encourages students to explore a range of techniques and approaches to writing about your own life.

    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
  6. Representations of femininity in contemporary Independent American cinema
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 15 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Mainstream cinema is dominated by male directors and protagonists. American independent cinema, with new ways to produce and distribute film, has increased the female voice in cinema. This course will examine what cinema looks like from a female point of view and how indie cinema has become so important in representing women.

    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 £60.00
  7. Writing villanelles
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 16 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Do not go gentle into that good night; write villanelles that rage, rage against the dying light. This interactive day workshop teaches students about the origins of the form popularized by Dylan Thomas, Emily Bishop and Sylvia Plath, and explores methods of manipulating the villanelle in new, subversive ways.

    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 £36.00
  8. Micro-memoir: a taster
    Evening
    Course Date:  Fri 18 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Fleeting glimpses. Missed trains. Unforgettable goodbyes. A life is measured in moments as well as momentous occasions. This fun day workshop coaches students in the art of micro-memoir. Can you write about an instant that changed you in 200 words or less?

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £8.00
    Rating:
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  9. The Insurance triangle: Fenchurch Street station
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 22 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Famous for being the station no-one can visualise Fenchurch Street is one of London’s oldest termini and gateway to the eastern side of the City. Stories include London's first railway murder, the birth of Monopoly and the diary of Samuel Pepys. In between, discover a sundial portraying London’s history, a piece of Roman wall, a graceful crescent once home to a hostel for Bengali immigrants, public art and one of the City’s most talked about office blocks, the Walkie-Talkie. Not to mention two of Rachel's ex-workplaces!

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £13.00
  10. The Art of the Essay: from Walter Benjamin to Claudia Rankine
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 23 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    We will go on a journey to investigate the art and form of the essay through collectively reading a variety of essayists from the early 20th century to the present day. We will explore the essay’s hazy boundaries between diary, literary criticism, nature writing, elegy, aphorism, political tract, and mystical/religious experiences through key essayists including Walter Benjamin, Virginia Woolf, Clarice Lispector, Audre Lorde, Etel Adnan, James Baldwin, David Rattray, and Claudia Rankine.

    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
  11. A compact guide to international migration: history and present
    Evening
    Course Date:  Wed 30 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore and understand trends and developments in international migration since the industrial revolution.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £35.00
  12. City Riverside: Cannon Street to Blackfriars
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 6 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Since the City opened up its river path, the lesser known north bank of the Thames between Blackfriars and Cannon Street stations and beyond provides fabulous views of Bankside and on the City side you discover a hidden monument to Shakespeare, several historic Livery Halls, colourful mosaics at an ancient landing place, an art nouveau decorated pub, a famous boys’ school and more!

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £13.00
  13. Spies in Modern Literature: John Le Carre, Javier Marias & Graham Greene
    Evening
    Course Date:  Thu 8 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    How relevant is spy literature in the 21st century? How has it evolved? This course will consider the complex narrative enticements of two acclaimed masters of the genre operating at the high end between popular entertainment and serious art form, and revisit a classic text from the 1970s whose psychological realism and moral questioning still resonate with us today.

    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 £42.00
  14. The Unsettled Imagination: exploring Gothic literature
    Evening
    Course Date:  Mon 12 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Eerie atmospherics; fear; curses; nightmares; confused perceptions; a damsel in distress; a brooding, fallen hero; creaking staircases in seemingly deserted, rain-lashed mansions. Gothic fiction is seen as full of stereotypes. It is actually complex, brilliant, and related to contemporary real-world shenanigans. This course considers classic 18th-19th Century Gothic writing.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £48.00
  15. Ways into poetry: an introduction
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 11 May 2021 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Are you just starting to write poetry? This inspiring short course offers an opportunity to experiment with language and a variety of poetic devices. Discover the key elements of a poem in a friendly and interactive class.

    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
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