AU book award laplace

Champaign author Karena LaPlace shows off her 2019 Author Academy Award during a ceremony in Columbus, Ohio.

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CHAMPAIGN — Author Karena LaPlace of Champaign has won a 2019 Author Academy Global Award for her debut crime novel, “Almost.”

The book is the story of a young cop determined to capture “a mysterious yet proficient serial criminal known only as The Chameleon,” according to an Amazon review.

LaPlace received the award for mysteries at the Author Academy Awards ceremony last month in Columbus, Ohio.

The award is given for literary merit and publishing excellence, said Kary Oberbrunner, founder of Author Academy Elite and the Author Academy Awards. “Almost” was published by Author Academy Elite.

More than 1,000 authors worldwide were nominated this year in 16 categories: general nonfiction, advice, self-help, business, memoir, health, clean romance, fantasy, mystery, thriller, science fiction, young adult and middle grade, children’s, historical fiction, general fiction, and religion.

Entries are evaluated based on popular vote, social contribution and presentation (cover, content, flow and originality).

As a winner, LaPlace received support to help publicize her book.


Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@jawurth).