Edinburgh: City of Literature

Discover the city through the works of its most renowned writers

Edinburgh has an amazingly rich literary heritage and was the first city in the world to receive UNESCO City of Literature status. This course examines some of Edinburgh's most celebrated literary talents, some Edinburgh locals and other Edinburgh visitors.

Alongside works by among others Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin, Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh, the course will explore these writers' presence in the city through manuscript collections and objects in the National Libraries and Museums of Scotland and the Edinburgh Writers' Museum.

We will also follow their footsteps through the city and see how their presence has been marked with monuments, plaques and other forms of cultural heritage. We will consider how these writers represent the city in their works and how it has shaped their writing.

Students will require an advanced command of the English language in order to fully participate in the reading, writing and discursive elements of this course. Successful applicants will require a minimum of IELTS academic module overall  7.0, with 6.0 in each component.

Course format

Your studies will include:

  • Close critical reading of passages from texts
  • Small group working
  • Setting literature in historical, social and political context
  • Advance preparation of material for class including work for essays and class discussion
  • Wide reading. Students will be encouraged to work around the subject by reading relevant secondary material


  • Formative essay of 1000 words to be delivered during the course (feedback only)
  • Oral presentation (10% of total marks)
  • Class contribution (10% of total marks)
  • 2000-word summative essay delivered after the course has finished (80% of the total marks)

Course organiser

Dr Anya Clayworth teaches Literature at the Centre for Open Learning at the University of Edinburgh. She provides credit courses for the Credit for Entry programme as well as working on the International Foundation Programme. She was a Teaching Fellow in the School of English at the University of St Andrews for three years before deciding to focus her energies on literature and study skills in a lifelong learning context. Anya is an expert on the journalism of Oscar Wilde and produced an edition of it for Oxford University Press in 2004. She has recently been nominated for the Best Overall Teacher award at the  EUSA Teaching Awards 2015/16



By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Discuss texts confidently in groups and as part of an assessed oral presentation
  • Assess literature based, to a certain extent, on your own close reading
  • Place literature in its historical and geographical context
  • Understand the cultural remains left by writers in Edinburgh
  • Write detailed and confident essays in response to assessment questions

A number of fee packages are available for the Summer School. Full fee information can be found on the Fees page.

All fee packages include tuition costs, selected social activities, and your chosen accommodation type. Full information on our accommodation options can be found here.

Costs are provided per week. To calculate your total cost, select your package type, then multiply this cost by the number of weeks in your course.

e.g. A student selecting a Silver package for a 4-week course in July would calculate:

£776 x 4 weeks = £3104

To secure your place at the Summer School, you will be required to pay a deposit of £125 which can be reclaimed towards your fee package.

Please note that study in the UK may incur additional costs e.g. visa application fees.

If you submit your application and deposit before 31 January 2018, you can claim our special early bird rate. We also offer a range of special rates for students at our valued partner institutions. Please see our Fees page for more details.