University of London’s Extra-Mural Department – Literature Association

In the academic year of 1982/83, students and lecturers of evening and day-time literature classes – organized by what was then the University of London’s Extra-Mural Department – founded a Literature Association which they named ‘ULEMLA’.  The first lecture was given in May 1983, and soon a pattern of seven talks per year being given by a variety of academics, writers, actors, etc was established.  In the early 1990s the Extra-Mural Department became part of Birkbeck, University of London, and ULEMLA is now available for everyone with an interest in literature to join – and bring their friends along to our meetings.

The main function of ULEMLA is to provide opportunities for anyone with an interest in literature to attend talks on literary topics and to join in discussions about prose, drama, poetry and related arts.  A year’s membership is £20, or each lecture is £5 for non-members.  Immediately after the December talk, we hold a Christmas party (for which tickets are sold in the autumn term) so that members have a chance to socialize and discuss the talks they’ve heard that year.  Many of the calendar-year’s speakers attend the Christmas party as our guests.  We also have an affordable annual outing each May to a place of literary interest.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ULMELA are suspending meetings until such time as we can safely meet in person in Senate House. When our seminar series reconvenes details of this will be advertised on this page, and the ULEMLA website.

Penny Youard, ULEMLA member since 2002, Committee member since 2017, has written a recent blog about the histroy of ULMELA.


Lindsay Martin