BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

A facebook page for creative writers — Safari Friday searching the web for writers and readers

blue eye

This week I want to recommend a facebook page. City Lit in central London is the largest adult education centre in Europe and is now has a very active page devoted to creative writing. You will find events here and competitions, inside information on new releases, the publishing industry and links to thought-provoking literary features that you might otherwise have missed.

The summer term has just started and today I will teach the 60 Minute Writer and a 10 week course on writing your family biography. The creative writing department has expanded and there are many new courses coming online over the summer. It is an exciting place to teach and learn – and a supportive one. It is a very student-centred education establishment which means they have to be nice to tutors…

It has an interesting history too. After WWI London County Council recommended making better provision ‘for the needs of a large number of students who seek education other than vocational’, with ‘a coherent programme of studies related to leisure, and an adult setting’.

City Lit welcomed its first students 1919. The college was four rented classrooms in Fetter Lane, Holborn Circus and fees were set at two shillings per term. It attracted thousands pf studenst and in the late 1920s and new permanet home was found  Stukeley Street in nearby Convent Garden. Tthe list of academics and writers who taught, gave masterclasses and special lectures included Dame Edith Sitwell, T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton, C. Day Lewis, Dorothy Sayers and Dylan Thomas.

Lessons continued WWII. Classes took place in air raid shelters, on the platforms of both Covent Garden and Holborn tube stations – where a piano was made available for recitals – and a class in Greek proceeded whilst the caretaker dealt with a fire bomb on the roof…its thrived ever since and today over 30,000 adult come through the doors every year. It’s very much part of London life but students commute from all over south east England. I run a week long summer school every year and it’s not unusal to find that students from all over the county have booked a week’s holiday in London, specifically to attend a City Lit course.

Safari = Swahili for long journey.I am on the look out for anything accessible from a keyboard that educates, entertains, intrigues, raises a smile. Anything that helps a reader get through the day or a writer the next draft. Let me know if you write a website that you’d like featured or discover something that really should be shared.

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2 comments on “A facebook page for creative writers — Safari Friday searching the web for writers and readers

  1. ann perrin
    May 2, 2014

    City Lit. Oh how I miss it, my favourite place, so many lovely courses I did there when I lived in London.
    My second favourite is the Mary Ward Centre. I first got to know about that when they invited me to do do talks on ‘Travelling children’ when I taught gypsies and they were one of the leading resources on the Romany culture. But subsequently attended many courses including singing, their art room too was a delight.

  2. bridget whelan
    May 3, 2014

    I think you’d love it even more now Ann. Creative writing is now a department in its own right and they are trying out lots of new and exciting things. Glad to be a part of it.

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