The chaos of writing

“You can't show me a sentence, word, or phoneme that is meaningless; by its nature, language is packed with meaning and emotion.” - Kenneth Goldsmith

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 1 hour a week
  • Mondays 13:00 - 14:00
  • 10 weeks: October to December
  • Tutor: Ronnie McGrath
  • Fees from £65 to £110
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking link

A truly audacious creative writing course for writers or creative heads who want to move their writing beyond the usual boundaries of poetry or prose for publishing.

In this ten-week lunchtime course you will experiment with words and question the very idea of what writing is and what it can become. Have you ever thought about a piece of writing that is not meant to communicate, or invented a religion for cars? What would a religion for cars taste like? These are just some of the things you may be asked to write about in a way that privileges the imagination and promotes the ‘idea’ over that of the technical and conventional.

Do come along to our one-hour sessions of unadulterated fun that are seriously committed to writing.

Online access to course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

The programme will start with an introduction to creative writing and an exploration of the individual interests of each of the participants.

Following on from this, the weekly sessions will introduce participants to the necessary theory and philosophical ideas for generating conceptual pieces of writing which are meant to be innovative and fun. We will touch on such movements as modernism and postmodernism to better understand how certain forms of writing are established and react to the time in which they are born.

By the end of the course, participants will have learned to appreciate and better understand how works that are governed by their own rules create meaning and enrich their approach to writing.

Some of the sessions will be supported by YouTube videos and by analysing the work of established writers. Ultimately, the aim is to educate the imagination through a play with words and create unique pieces of writing.

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.

Your Tutor

Ronnie McGrath photoA graduate of Manchester University’s MA in Novel Writing, Ronnie McGrath is a highly regarded writer, performance poet and creative writing lecturer.

Ronnie’s short story The Day Before That One, Too, is published in IC3, The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain.

Other published works includes Meghan’s Sparkle, in the anthology Filigree, published by Peepal Tree Press; Poems from The Tired Lips Of Newspapers, published by the Tall-Lighthouse Press; and the novel On The Verge of Losing iT, published by Ankhademia Press, 2005. Data Trace, Ronnie’s full collection of postmodern poetry was published by Salt in 2010.

In 1993, Ronnie was commended for his writing by ACER who later published and awarded 1st place for his writing in 1994. 

Contraband, an experimental short story which represents his aesthetic to date, will be published by Peepal Tree Press in 2022. 

Ronnie was also writer in residence at Wandsworth Prison for the Loss and Liberty Project that culminated in an exhibition at The Museum of London, Docklands.

Course Delivery: Live Online Taught courses

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.

Microsoft Teams

This course will use Teams as its online delivery method. Teams is easy to use. You will need to log into your existing Teams account or, alternatively, please create a free account hereNear the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a Teams web link that will allow you to access the course. All you need do is click on the course link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class. Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

All courses lasting two hours have a 10-minute break in the middle. For one-hour courses there is no break.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
10  10  £110*
£65*
£85*
* There is no Early Bird rate available for one-term courses starting in October


Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 10  10 11 Oct - 18 Dec 2021 (10 weeks)* n/a n/a n/a
* This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Ronnie McGrath at abreton13@yahoo.co.uk
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.