Literary Theory

An intensive one-day introduction to some of the key ideas in literary criticism, including feminist criticism, postcolonial criticism and ‘death of the author’, for students aged 15-18.

Have you ever argued about what literature is for, or how many right ways there are to read a poem? The English Literature Masterclass is for students aged 15-18 interested in literary theory, or just keen to discover new ways of reading, and is particularly suited to anyone considering studying English at university.

This interactive, full-day course is taught through mini-lectures, seminars and group work, and provides great opportunities to discuss your ideas with tutors and fellow students in an informal but academically rigorous environment.

Topics to be covered include:

Postcolonial Criticism * Feminist Criticism * Death of the Author? * Banned books – Literature and Society

Student discussion and practical analysis form the heart of each session, and all participants are encouraged to engage actively and critically with the material, just as they would do in a university tutorial or group environment. Peer-to-peer interaction is key, and our Literature tutors (postgraduate and doctoral students at top universities) are skilled at facilitating and managing discussion such that students can explore ideas independently.

‘I would highly recommend this course for anybody interested in literature or who reads widely. It is a brilliant opportunity to discuss works with those with similar interests to you. Challenging but enjoyable. The tutors are professional and informative; you will surely come away from the course having learnt plenty and having met some lovely people. Overall, a great experience.’

‘I had always been worried that the range of literature that I had read and studied had been too narrow, but this course really helped to give a foundation to a far wider range of literature and I would highly recommend the course to anyone thinking of attending.’

‘I’m so grateful to my friend for recommending this course to me, it really helped me understand criticism and literature in a new way.  I was able to look at topics I would not necessarily be able to in school and have discussions with people who love English as much as me!’

‘I had a brilliant day – it was very intense and really thought-provoking, opening my eyes to current debates within my subject. It was also fun to meet people with similar interests yet who often had a completely different interpretation of a text. This breadth of ideas, demonstrated by our lively discussions, was what was most valuable about the day.’

Practical Details

The Literary Theory course is an online event for students aged 15 – 18.

This is a one-day course, running on Saturday 26th March (waiting list). Teaching hours will run from 10am till 3.30pm, with a break for lunch, and an independent study task.

This is a live online event, with small seminar groups offering fully interactive classroom discussion and debate (much as you would normally expect from our in-person courses). The event will not be recorded, so it is essential that you are able to attend during the course hours, and that you have a reliable audio and video connection.

The cost of the one-day Literary Theory course is £90 per student. As class sizes are small, places are very limited, and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

You can see our full booking terms and conditions here.

You can book your place using the link below, or if you have any further questions, please call us on 0800 8101058, or email

We offer a limited number of full and partial bursaries (of up to 80% of fees) to students who could not otherwise afford to attend. If you would like to apply for a bursary then please complete your bursary application here.