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Student stories

City Lit inspires passions and realises ambitions. Each year students studying here change careers, embark on a new challenge, or learn something new. They are taught by specialist tutors - practicing writers, artists, performers, and practitioners. Read about some of our students and staff here...

Sovel CunninghamSovel Cunningham

Wendy Allen

After being made redundant, Wendy decided to take up a poetry course at City Lit. Thanks to City Lit tutor Julie Irigaray Wendy discovered her passion for poetry. She is now studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. She already has several publications on her name and her next pamphlet will be published in May 2023. 

Sovel CunninghamSovel Cunningham

Sovel Cunningham

A career with Royal Mail and in Human resources equipped Sovel with great interpersonal skills. Mastering her natural poetic voice during several writing and speech courses at City Lit, she has recently signed a publishing deal with 'That Guy's House...

Ray Plassard playing the fluteRay Plassard playing the flute

Ray Plassard

'Hearing that the City Lit celebrates its centenary in 2019 put me in mind that I have been attending classes there on and off for over 50 years, half of its existence! Mainly in the music department.'

Angela Tullock in art studioAngela Tullock in art studio

Angela Tulloch

City Lit bursary recipient Angela Tulloch shares her experiences; 'City Lit has been and still is a life saver, it is a powerful positive transformation place for me. This opportunity has allowed my soul to sing because I am actually doing what makes me free and happy'.

Ilyaas Caders with his wifeIlyaas Caders with his wife

Ilyaas Cader

llyaas travelled from Sri Lanka, surviving an incredible journey across Europe, to join his brother in London. He went on to study English at City Lit and now works as a Senior Deaf Children’s Mental Health Worker.

Russell Aldersson at the National Gallery, LondonRussell Aldersson at the National Gallery, London

Russell Aldersson

Russell's connection to City Lit spans three decades, from studying British Sign Language at he age of 19 to becoming a fully qualified British Sign Language/English Interpreter at City Lit and beyond.

The Wilson familyThe Wilson family

Lucy, Dave and Gene Wilson

Lucy and Dave met at a Photography taster course at the Visual Arts Open Day, by the end of the day they had arranged a date, went on to marry and start a family with the arrival of baby 'Gene'.

"We are firm believers in trying new things - you never know what might happen." — Lucy Wilson

Jack O'Neill massaging in studioJack O'Neill massaging in studio

Jack O'Neill

Jack decided to take early retirement and started looking for massage therapy courses in London after deciding the quiet life wasn't for him...Jack is now a fully qualified massage therapist and a professional member of the CThA, and the owner of Holmas Massage.

Malorie Blackman by the River Thames, LondonMalorie Blackman by the River Thames, London

Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman OBE has a long connection with City Lit as a former student attending diverse courses with us since the late 1980s. Having written over fifty books, Malorie is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers.

Lucille Lewin looking through a magnifying glassLucille Lewin looking through a magnifying glass

Lucille Lewin

Lucille discovered her passion for ceramics on the course following her hugely successful career in fashion and retailing (selling the Whistles business in 2002).

Penelope Maynard performing on stage at City Lit Penelope Maynard performing on stage at City Lit

Penelope Maynard

Discover how City Lit courses provide inspiration and substance in Penelope’s retirement, and her general view of City Lit after being a student here for a number of years. Having taken over 15 courses, City Lit plays an enormous role in her daily life.

Farrah Idris with a client Farrah Idris with a client

Farrah Idris

Farrah Idris is a fully qualified, practising complementary therapist, working in the oldest established hospice in London. She specialises in clinical therapies with end of life patients, and is also a tutor in massage (ITEC) at City Lit and hypnotherapist in training.

David Ekong giving speech at his weddingDavid Ekong giving speech at his wedding

David Ekong

David has lived with a stammer since childhood, but it was only after taking a stammering course at City Lit that he managed to build his confidence speaking in public situations and deliver his wedding speech.

image of hand writing on paperimage of hand writing on paper

Judith Pearson

Judith Pearson recounts her first experiences of City Lit. Describing a 6am queue to book a creative writing course and a surprise journey into adult education, completing hundreds of writing and drama courses along the way.

Mary Hurworth cutting a cakeMary Hurworth cutting a cake

Mary Hurworth

Mary Hurworth, an art student at City Lit for over 25 years, left a gift in her will, Mary has made sure that others have the same opportunity to follow new pathways in art with the development of the Digital and Design Lab on the fourth floor.