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. London at war
    Course start date:  Tue 13 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Mixed Mode (Online and In Person)

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson




    London has been shaped by war, conflict and unrest. It's buildings, monuments and even street names reflect our embattled past. These walks examine London's wartime legacy from mediaeval fortifications to the War on Terror.



    London guide: Eleanor Jackson



    First lecture will be delivered via zoom followed by 8 guided walks.



    This course will be delivered online and in person. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £151.00 Concession £95.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  2. City of words: London's literary landscape
    Course start date:  Thu 15 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Mixed Mode (Online and In Person)

    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 we walk a different London neighbourhood each week exploring its literary connections. Initial lecture is on zoom . This is followed by 8 guided walks.



    This course will be delivered online and in person. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £85.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  3. The men who built London
    Course start date:  Thu 15 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Mixed Mode (Online and In Person)

    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.



    This course will be delivered online and in person. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £151.00 Concession £95.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  4. The whole story of cinema
    Course start date:  Mon 19 Sep 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    If you love cinema and want to know more about it, look no further. Here is a course for all those who love watching and reading about films, and who want to understand more about the evolution of the art of cinema, as told through the most innovative films from any country in any period. From film’s origins to modern day streaming, and through many cinematic golden ages, this course will examine those moments in time when a range of national cinemas surfed the wave of creative originality, achieved through a mix of social, technical, and historical factors. The exploration of key films and genres will reveal insights into the world of film-making, from cinematography, lighting, and sound, to editing and acting styles, enabling you to better interpret the meaning of world-famous movies.
    Full fee £259.00 Senior fee £207.00 Concession £168.00
  5. Reading for children's writers
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 19 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Penny Joelson
    Explore recently published successful books for children, mainly by UK authors, and produce your own writing inspired by them. The course will cover pictures books, middle grade and young adult.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  6. Creative non-fiction
    Course start date:  Tue 20 Sep 2022 (and 11 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Paul Laffan
    Explore practical and imaginative approaches to creative non fiction, including travel writing, life writing and the essay. Analyse published work, produce your own pieces, and benefit from detailed feedback.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £209.00 Concession £105.00
  7. Introduction to political philosophy
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 20 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christopher Horner
    What are the ends and means of politics? Interweaving modern history and politics with key philosophical texts, study and debate the ideas, ideologies and concepts underpinning our thinking about the organisation of society.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £189.00 Concession £95.00
    Rating:
    91% of 100
  8. Spanish Art 1900-1937: the age of Picasso, Miró and Dalí
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 21 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mark Stuart-Smith
    Reflecting a 'silver age' of literature, art in Spain before the Civil war encompasses the modernist genius of Picasso, Juan Gris and Miró; the surrealism of Dalí and the late Impressionism of Joaquín Sorolla.



    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
  9. Picture book writing: advanced
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 21 Sep 2022 (and 5 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Would you like to workshop, edit and polish your picture book texts for young children? This course is designed for advanced picture book writers wishing to hone and improve their own stories.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £80.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  10. Cultureplex Ciné-club
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022 (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 £199.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £129.00
  11. The medieval history of Sicily
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Michael Bloomfield
    This course explores the extraordinary medieval history of Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, a bridge between Italy and Africa. We meet Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, all-conquering sophisticated Normans, and the brutal, Empire-hungry Henry VI whose son Frederick promoted himself as the ideal king of an ideal kingdom….



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £189.00 Concession £95.00
  12. British Cinema of the 1980s: From My Beautiful Laundrette to Withnail and I
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 22 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mick McAloon
    In spite of Margaret Thatcher’s hostility towards the British film industry, the 1980s was an incredibly fertile period for British cinema. This online course explores the era’s defining films, including Meantime (Leigh 1983), My Beautiful Laundrette (Frears 1985), and Withnail and I (Robinson 1987), and its most influential filmmakers (Alan Clarke, Derek Jarman, Stephen Frears, Mike Leigh) and considers the socio-cultural influences at work.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £189.00 Concession £123.00
  13. Craft focus: grammar, syntax, and style for creative writers
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 23 Sep 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  William Brady
    Learn how and why the rules and conventions of language matter in this new taster course, which combines creative writing with opportunities to learn/revise essential points of grammar and useful literary concepts. Suitable for beginning writers, and those with more experience.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £90.00
  14. City Lit reading group 1
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Fri 23 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Tabby Toussaint
    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first session on Friday 23 September with suggestions (English-language contemporary fiction in paperback) and having read Open Water (2021) by Caleb Azumah Nelson. Monthly meetings on 23 Sept; 28 Oct, 2 Dec; 20 Jan, 24 Feb, 24 March; 28 April; 26 May; 30 June.
    Full fee £189.00 Senior fee £151.00 Concession £123.00
  15. London ‘lowlife’ in fiction: 1889-1907
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 26 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Wise
    We will explore the themes of poverty, politics, gender and ethnicity in London at the end of the 19th century/start of the 20th century through the eyes of writers of fiction, but also through the testimony of their non-fiction contemporaries – social investigators, government officials, journalists and philanthropists.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00

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