Course overview



E.M Forster wrote: “Certainly London fascinates…It lies beyond everything.” This course will encourage you to write about London – one of the most inspiring cities in the world. Each week there’s an exercise based on a different aspect of the city. We will generate new material and experiment with different styles, sharing our own work during class as well as taking inspiration from some famous London writers. Writers of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction are all welcome on this course.

The course was well thought out, varied, and drew on a diverse, multi-sensory range of sources to provide tons of inspiration and ideas using London as source material. Sonia is an engaged, encouraging, and enthusiastic teacher, who clearly loves the subject and shared practical and thought-provoking ways to respond to the city, and techniques and exercises to apply to creative writing more widely. I'm already recommending it to other writers.

Vicky Walker

The course encouraged me to see London in a new light through my writing and introduced me to exercises that help to get the creative juices flowing. It was a great opportunity to share my writing in a supportive and constructive atmosphere. I highly recommend the course to anyone who wishes to seek inspiration from the city and feel motivated to write on a regular basis.

Martha Burley

This course provides an enjoyable way for those new to the city, as well as hardened Londoners, to discover more about this remarkable place. We will start off by looking at London as a source of inspiration, with an exercise based on mental maps. You will read descriptions of some classic London views, and write about your own London journeys. We will explore the smells, tastes and sounds of our streets, create our own London characters, as well as drawing inspiration from some famous London artworks. We will have a go at writing from picture prompts, sound recordings and objects, as well as making our own “found poetry”. We will also try writing “on location” on a class trip to central London, and finish the course with readings of our final pieces.

The course will encourage you to engage with your surroundings and create new work. Supportive group sessions will build confidence, providing new and different stimuli, and challenging you to write more throughout the week. Sharing work in a positive, friendly environment is one of the best ways to develop your writing. You will also get to know this city better, and see it in a new light.

Why Study this Course?

This course will help to

  • Build your confidence as a writer
  • Give you a space to explore writing from different stimuli and in different styles
  • Give you an opportunity to get feedback on your work from other writers, and to learn to critique your own work more confidently
  • Introduce you to some great London writing
  • Encourage you to discover more about the city where we live.



Booking information

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible. 

Please note our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.


If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses (

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Tutor information

Sonia Lambert

Sonia Lambert

Sonia Lambert has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her novel, "Three Mothers", was published in 2006 by Piatkus (Little, Brown) with editions in Italy (Mondadori) and the USA (Berkley Press). She is currently a PhD Candidate at Goldsmiths, working on a novel set in the Second World War and researching refugee writing. She has also written for BBC Radio 4 and the Guardian newspaper. She loves London, and has lived here for most of her life.


Course structure

Week 1. Introductions and Warm Up Exercises.

We will discuss London as a source of inspiration, and start the course with an exercise based on making mental maps. We read extracts based on some London views, and discuss the homework for next week.

Week 2. London Views

We will share some homework about London views. We will try some exercises on writing settings, and read poems inspired by journeys both underground and overground.

Week 3. London Journeys

We will share our homework about London journeys, and try some exercises exploring London through sound.

Week 4. London Characters – ‘beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics’

This week we look at creating London characters. We meet some of the most famous fictional Londoners, and try an exercise on creating our own.

Week 5. London Characters continued & London Artworks

We will listen to some London characters readings, and do a writing exercise inspired by some famous London artworks.

Week 6. London Artworks and Historical Fiction

We will share some writing inspired by London artworks. We will also talk about historical fiction: writing inspired by London’s past, as well as conducting an exercise based on writing from objects.

Week 7. TRIP: Writing “on location” in the British Library and St Pancras Station, or Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery.

Week 8. Found Poetry

We will share readings from the trip. This will be followed by a “found poetry” workshop, making poems from cut up newspapers and other materials.

Week 9. Editing Strategies

We look at editing strategies and workshop our final pieces. You will be encouraged to return to work from earlier in the course, or to write something new on the topic of ‘London Calling: hopes, dreams, and disappointments.’

Week 10. Final Pieces

This week we hear readings of the final pieces, and talk about possible next steps for writing.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will have:

  • A portfolio of new London writing
  • Experience of writing about the city from different stimuli and in different styles
  • Practice in sharing your work and in giving and receiving feedback from other writers.
  • Confidence to continue your writing further.
  • Some new ideas for exploring our city!

About the department

Our Department of English and Comparative Literature is one of the largest and most dynamic in the University. We offer a dynamic range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, retaining a strong research focus in our postdoctoral community of academics. Whether you are interested in classical literature and/or linguistics, creative writing and contemporary fiction, this wide-ranging and interdisciplinary department has something to offer for all. We host exciting research centres, which hold regular events such as the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, as well as the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies. In 2013, we launched the Goldsmiths Prize, which celebrates fiction at its most novel.

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