Megan Krause, for a recipient of the Harvard Prize Book Award, is unusually humble.
“It’s not something like, I got the Harvard book and now I’m going to Harvard on a full scholarship,” the Phoenixville Area High School senior joked earlier this week while explaining to a reporter how, exactly, the Harvard Alumni Association came to recognize her as the top student in her soon-to-be graduating class.
“I did absolutely nothing,” she insisted. “I came into class and Mr. McLaughlin gave this long speech and said Megan has won this award.”
Nothing might be pushing it. When pressed, Megan conceded that she’s at the top of her class and when her arm was really twisted, she copped to being, at the ripe age of 17, something of an accomplished creative writer.
At the moment, she’s working on a submission to the Scholastic annual short fiction contest, for which she has her eye on a Gold Award.
Her story, she explained, is about a “girl who’s had trauma in her life. She’s in a situation where she can’t remember what happened to her” and she, through a mechanism Krause kept a mystery, slowly rediscovers all that went wrong.
The youngest child of three (Krause has a sister at Cornell and a brother at the University of Pittsburgh) said there isn’t any biographical aspect to her short fiction. “It’s more imaginative,” she insisted, but with a realist slant. The experience for the reader isn’t meant to be escapist she said, but to heighten awareness of the here and the now.
“I want to put something out there and say, ‘Recognize that these things are happening to other people,’” Krause said. “And if we can help them, fantastic.”
Krause, who started writing in middle school, said she caught the bug the usual way: she just loved to read.
“I decided I wanted to create my own stories and I wanted to make readers go, ‘Oh wow that’s cool,’ or ‘Wow, I never thought of it that way before.’”
She wanted to affect other people the same way she’d been affected.
The avocation might be short lived though. While she attended a junior writers seminar at the prestigious University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop two years ago, when she moves on to college next year—she says Tufts is her top choice—Megan said she doesn’t have any plans to continue to pursue the craft.
“Probably not,” she admitted when asked if she was considering creative writing as a major. “You can’t do much with that.”
She said she’ll probably opt for a science of some kind. Smart girl.