Masters of style: reading and writing Hemingway

Course Dates: 31/10/20 - 01/11/20
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online

Ernest Hemingway was the master of minimalist short fiction where every word counted. While writing many drafts, he pared his writing down to what he felt was 'true'. This day workshop explores the literary interpretations of two of his seminal short stories and writing exercises that encourage you to experiment with Hemingway's style.

This course will be delivered online. For more information please see our guide to online learning.


What is the course about?

Two things are true: style is seductive and imitation is often the sincerest form of flattery. In this one-day workshop explore how Ernest Hemingway developed his unique style of short fiction to become one of the most influential writers of the twentieth-century. Take Hemingway's minimalism as a starting point for your own writing practice. Combine analysis of two seminal short stories, 'Hills Like White Elephants and 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place', with writing exercises to experiment with economical prose.

This course is offered jointly by Literature and Creative Writing. You will be taught by a tutor from each department.

The Tutors: Patricia Sweeney is Programme Coordinator for Literature and Film at City Lit, with specialist teaching interests in modern and contemporary literature, drama and film adaptation. In addition to her work at City Lit, Patricia has taught literature courses for the Open University and Literature, Drama and Film courses for Birkbeck, University of London.

Maria Thomas is Programme Coordinator for Creative Writing at City Lit and an award-winning writer of short fiction. She has taught writing at the University of Virginia, and as a Promising Scholar and Margaret McBride Lerhman Fellow at the University of Oregon where she studied for her MFA in Fiction. She is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she researches creative writing pedagogy and is working on a novel. Maria is on the editorial board of acclaimed literary journal Short Fiction.

City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.

This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- An introduction to Hemingway's minimalism: contexts and form
- Analysis and discussion of two stories: 'Hills Like White Elephants' and 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place'
- What is style and how to find yours as a writer
- How to write dynamic economical pros.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand the key features of Hemingway's minimalism
- Understand the historical context of Hemingway's fiction
- Craft economical sentences in the style of Hemingway and in your own writing voice.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an intermediate course suitable for those with some prior experience of creative writing and literary study. You should be an enthusiastic reader of fiction, comfortable sharing your ideas and writing, and fluent in English.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught by two tutors, Patricia Sweeney (Literature) and Maria Thomas (Creative Writing). You will learn through a combination of short lecture, interactive tutor presentation, group and individual writing exercises. Please come to class having read the short stories assigned.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No additional costs. Stories will be provided in advance. Please come to class having read the short stories assigned. Please bring writing materials. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet for use during writing activities if it will help you.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look up Literature courses in the prospectus under Humanities or on the website under History, Culture and Writing at

You may also be interested in taking a creative writing course at City Lit. Learn more about short stories in Reading for writers: the short story (a fortnightly course) and practice your skills in Short story writing.

All students are invited to join us at "" Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to "". Between the Lines is our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on"" and "".


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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

If you enjoy reading or writing short stories this is a very enjoyable way of improving your skill and understanding.
Course Rating
Review by Stephen T / (Posted on 24/11/2019)
Tutor Biographies
Patricia Sweeney See more
Maria Thomas See more

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HLT122

Sat-Sun, day, 31 Oct - 01 Nov '20

Duration: 2 sessions

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £36.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.