Detail from Tophill's painting The Letter Writer

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Mondays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: late July to September
  • 2 hours weekly online taught time
  • Tutor: Ronnie McGrath
  • Fees from £67 to £117
  • Online course
Booking link

One of the defining features of humanity is that we like to tell each other stories, from a brief chat describing a visit to the shops, to the epic stories told by writers such as George Eliot and Leo Tolstoy. Whether great or small, we like to tell each other stories of our own lives, the lives of others, and of course, imagined lives.

On this course we will explore how stories can be told in original and creative ways through writing. In doing so we will reflect on the fact that the fast-changing nature of our world has had an impact on the way people write, read and access different stories. This has led to a broadening of what we mean by creative writing, but also an increased demand for new and exciting ways to tell stories. Older forms of writing are still with us of course, and they are thriving, such as poetry and printed literature, but now we also tell stories through text messaging, emails and social media.

On this course we will focus on contemporary poetry and prose, and our tutor will take an innovative approach to creative writing by seeking to educate our imaginations through guided experimentation and playing games with words. This tried and tested approach enables writers (beginners or more experienced) to identify and connect with the undiscovered possibilities of their talent.

With visual imagery being so important in our contemporary society, the course will also draw on the relationship between image and text to help us generate ideas for writing, so we might end up looking at things as disparate as the city, ideas of the ‘self’, going for a walk, food and maybe even chocolate for inspiration.

The course is open to complete beginners but is also suitable for those with some experience of writing and returning students who will be encouraged to explore different genres and various narrative techniques for the novel and the short story form.

At the end of this course you will:

  • have a much broader understanding of the changing nature of writing in contemporary society.
  • be able to make the necessary link between writing, culture, and identity in order to produce works that are particular to your experience, and progressive by nature.
  • be acquainted with some of the leading vanguards of contemporary poetry, including avant-garde, and experimental techniques, in order to produce ‘original’ pieces of poetry and prose that educate the imagination.
  • have a wide understanding of the ‘short story’, what it is, and how to move beyond  standard/prescriptive definitions of character, dialogue, narrative and form.
  • be enriched by a variety of ideas about writing/poetry which will help you to develop your practice in relation to the ‘cutting edge’ and popular culture as a whole.
  • be able to write a poem and a short story of your choice.
  • benefit from peer and tutor feedback.

This 10-week course offers one 2-hour online session each week (20 contact hours).

Class size is limited to 15 students.

Potential applications should note that this is a creative writing class and so it is not designed to aid non-native speakers of English to improve their language skills.

Course structure

  • Teaching will be delivered in a friendly manner which encourages group participation and individual contributions.
  • Weekly sessions will be supported by reading material which draws from a diverse community of writers. There will also be information on how to get published, poetry magazines, competitions, venues, websites, small presses and literary development agencies.
  • Although it is not compulsory, you should be prepared to read your work aloud and have it elicit the necessary feedback from both your tutor and peers.  The format of your weekly sessions will consist of a PowerPoint presentation, a short discussion of the topic in question, and a writing exercise which you should have ready to read aloud in the next session. As the course progresses, you will analyse the work of published writers and comment on an aspect of the text in question. We will also draw on YouTube to discuss examples of cutting edge performance in poetry and other aspects of the creative process.

Equipment Required

  • In order to take part in the weekly sessions, you must have access to an internet connected computer or tablet and the Microsoft Teams learning platform. This requires a Microsoft Teams Account. These are free but you do need to register for one in advance using the same email address with which you enrol on this course. We recommend you also download the Microsoft Teams App.
  • Your device must have a microphone and web-camera connected to it. Many computers, laptops and tablets already have these built in, but you might want to check on that first.


Course Information

Course Programme

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

Following on from this the programme will be tailored to the individual needs of each student, and the group dynamics.

The weekly sessions will be supported by reading material which draws from a diverse community of writers. Information regarding how to get published, poetry magazines, competitions, venues, websites, small presses and literary development agencies will be distributed if and when they arise.

You are advised to bring your own pen and paper or laptop to the workshops.

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course, but your tutor might recommend you look at specific texts during the course.

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 Poems From The Tired Lips Of Newspapers, published by the Tall-Lighthouse Press, and the novel On The Verge of Losing iT, published by the Ankhademia Press, 2005. In 1993, he was commended for his writing by ACER who later published and awarded 1st place for his writing in 1994.

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. Following publication of 'The Oligarch’s Poem' for the groundbreaking documentary Listen To Venezuela, Ronnie’s most recent publication, a collection of contemporary poetry entitled DATA TRACE, published by SALT.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
20  10  £117 £67 £90
All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Fee Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

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

Internal Rate

  • Applies to 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).
  • 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 email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

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

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 these before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer term
 20  10 n/a n/a n/a w/c 27 Jul - w/c 28 Sept 2020 (10 weeks)

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 29 June

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

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% of the taught sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be addressed to the course tutor, Ronnie McGrath,