February 5, 2014

UCF alumna Kelle Groom recently was one of just 38 writers to receive a $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Groom received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry in 2008 and has been making waves in the literary world ever since. The fellowship is just the latest in a line of writing accolades Groom has earned over her career.

Her 2011 memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl, was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review editor’s choice, and was a “Literary Journal” best memoir of 2011.

This spring, Groom will be the James Merrill House Writer-in-Residence in Stonington, Conn. The residency program offers poets and writers an opportunity to work in poet James Merrill’s apartment for 4½ months and a stipend for the course of the stay.

In regards to the NEA fellowship, Groom said she is honored and especially appreciative of the recognition because it reinforces confidence in her work and provides her with a monetary award that will allow her to devote the next year to writing her second nonfiction book.

Groom also earned her bachelor’s and master’s from UCF.

“UCF gave me an education and a community, supporting me as a young writer,” Groom said. “I was lucky enough to be a student in UCF’s new MFA program, an environment that respected both the worth of poetry and my own individual voice.”

Groom credits the support of UCF’s faculty, in particular professor Don Stap, for their support and encouragement of her work and “the feeling that these people were on my side.”

Having just finished her fourth poetry collection, Letter from Aphrodite, Groom is working on her latest nonfiction book, a series of short stories, and her fifth collection of poems titled Spill.

Groom encourages young, aspiring writers to constantly be reading. “Be part of a community of writers whose work you love and support. Stay close to them,” she said.

For more on Groom’s work, visit her website at http://www.kellegroom.com.