Detail of Tophill's painting called The Letter

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

Information at a Glance

  • Daytime (Lunchtime Learning) Class
  • Mondays 13:00 - 13:50
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • 50 minutes taught time per week
  • Tutor: Ronnie McGrath
  • Fees from £105 to £200
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus

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 inspriration.

Teaching on the course is very practical and will be delivered in a friendly and guided workshop environment which aims to develop confidence in writing through positive and constructive criticism appropriate to the work in question. All that is required is a willingness to learn by exploring new ideas, and the ability to write in English and communicate your ideas effectively.

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.

Weekly sessions will be supported by reading material which draws from a diverse community of writers. There will also be information onhow to get published, poetry magazines, competitions, venues, websites, small presses and literary development agencies.

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. Other classes are available to cover that aspect of English writing.

This course is now full

Course Information

Course Programme

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

Your Tutor

McGrath R photoA graduate of Manchester University’s MA in Novel Writing, Ronnie McGrathis 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, Ronnie 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  20  £200    (Early Bird rate: £180*) £115    (Early Bird rate: £105*)
£155    (Early Bird rate: £140*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October   |   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
  • Friends of the South London Botanical Institute
  • 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
  • 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 the  before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 20  20 14 Oct - 12 Dec 2019 (9 weeks)* 6 Jan - 19 Mar 2020 (11 weeks) n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August

Enrolment & payment are through the Imperial College eStore. Please use above booking link noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on this page and your applicable 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 before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications will be sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms your payment, date of payment and order number
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment receipt and therefore does not show your course however these details are sent to us via the system
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of September. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows the programme your course is part of as well as the term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme 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% (16) of the taught classroom 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, at

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.