UCSC awards first annual Gram Memorial Scholarship to creative writing student

James Williams
James Williams is the first recipient of the Kenneth Andrew Gram Memorial Scholarship in Creative Writing
UCSC student James Williams, a former machinist who returned to school to be around “people who talk about books,” is now the first recipient of the Kenneth Andrew Gram Memorial Scholarship.

The award--based on financial need for a student “showing a quest for knowledge and curiosity” who is accepted into the Creative Writing Program and recommended by a faculty member—will be presented annually by UCSC’s Literature Department.

The scholarship is awarded in memory of Kenneth Andrew Gram, a gifted writer and graduate of UCSC’s Creative Writing Program, who passed away in 2009. His parents, John and Dawn Gram, established The Kenneth Andrew Gram Memorial Scholarship Endowment in 2013.

The inaugural annual scholarship competition took place during the current academic year. The first award is $2,000.

“The Gram Scholarship Endowment is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring creative writers in the literature major at UCSC,” noted professor of literature and department chair Carla Freccero. “The scholarship combines an attention to the financial needs of students with a deep appreciation for their desire to learn, their curiosity, and their aspirations. In spirit and letter, the scholarship beautifully captures the restless questing of Ken Gram’s lyricism.”

“James Williams is the ideal recipient of this first awarding of the scholarship,” Freccero added. “Locally rooted and a parent with creative aspirations--both for himself and for younger generations--James has also shown a desire for knowledge, coupled with a determination to realize his aspirations in the Creative Writing Progam at UCSC and beyond.”

Now a junior at UCSC, Williams is a transfer student from Cabrillo College, where he took literature and creative writing classes, and studied with poet and UCSC creative writing alumnus Jeff Tagami.

“He is a curious, engaged student who hopes to minor in education and become a high school or community college teacher, ideally in Oakland,” noted literature professor Rob Wilson, who presented Williams with the scholarship award.

Williams is currently working on a series of lyrical stories based on his childhood in Oakland.


For more information about the Kenneth Andrew Gram Memorial Scholarship, contact Deborah Claesgens at dclaesge@ucsc.edu.