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Write choice

By NAN BIALEK
Photos by Matt Haas

August 2014

Although she is just entering her junior year at Whitnall High School, Anna Krolikowski has already demonstrated that she has the imagination and command of language she’ll need if she chooses fiction writing as a career.

Anna was recently named the winner of the Editor’s Choice Award in the local Scholastic Writing Awards competition. Her entry, "Beneath My Skin," is a poignant short story about a relationship between teenage fraternal twins. One of the twins, Alice, is on the autism spectrum.

The story was inspired partly by two young boys who Anna says she is very close to. The boys were born prematurely and have quite a few health problems. "Before I wrote the story, one of them was diagnosed with autism. It intrigued me that one was diagnosed and the other not," Anna says. Her story is, in part, how she imagines the nature of the relationship between the twins as they grow older, she says.

Anna also has an older brother and sister who are living with autism. "They’re both sweethearts, and it definitely changes my perspective of things a lot — just the way I interact with people, and especially the special education kids at my school. Of course, everyone is different; no one is the same when it comes to autism," she says.

"Beneath My Skin" is written from Alice’s point of view, and Anna says it was a challenge to craft the piece in the first person. "I think that it’s hard to wrap your mind around the concept of somebody wanting to be able to interact with the world, but they’re not able to," she says. "It’s always been interesting to me."

The emotional bond between twins is evident in the story’s dialogue, as is the heartache when a person, or a situation, threatens either of them.

"The story has great emotional impact," says Janet Raasch, co-editor of M Magazine. "She delivers a mature writing style, really connecting the reader to the main character."

Anna wrote the story, as she does many others, not as an assignment, but just because she enjoys the process. She has been writing stories since she was in fourth grade, she says, and may well pursue writing as a career, "but it’s not my only interest."

She also is exploring the digital visual arts, making and editing videos, another outlet for her true passion: "I love telling stories. When I was younger, all my friends wanted to play house and I always wanted to play superheroes, because I always had a story to tell."

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition, organized by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, has been honoring creative, innovative teens annually since 1923. Past winners include writers and artists who went on to national and international acclaim, such as Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath and Joyce Carol Oates. The writing competition is administered locally by Still Waters Collective.

 

 





 

This story ran in the August 2014 issue of: