Skip to content

Local Author Wins Award

By Leah Williams

One local author has received accolades for her book about the opioid crisis in southcentral Illinois and the devastation that could happen to families of all backgrounds.

“Heartbroken – Grief and Hope Inside the Opioid Crisis” by Ellen Krohne with Matthew Ellis and Diana Cuddeback won the Bronze Medal in the Non-Fiction – Grief/Hardship category in the 2020 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Contest.

The local author, who is from Okawville, published the book in 2019 as it chronicles the history of opioid addiction in the U.S., stories from seven families who have lost a child to opioid addiction, and the different strategies that they used to provide healing and hope during their hard times.

“I was surprised,” Krohne said when she learned she had won. “My first thought was that I was excited about the recognition to help spread the message of the book and reduce the stigma of the opioid crisis. It really can happen to anybody, any one or any family.”

Since she published the book last fall, Krohne said she has worked with the Southern Illinois Substance Abuse Alliance with a few speaking engagements and other presentations in hopes of raising awareness of the opioid epidemic.

The Annual Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from more than a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.

Because of these large submission numbers, the contest was able to break down categories into more than 140 genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. They receive submissions from other independent authors, small publishers, as well as publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.

While the COVID-19 restrictions put in place limited the opportunities to promote the book, Krohne said she is hopeful that there will soon be a day where she can continue to deliver the message depicted in her book.

“I am just grateful for the people I have worked with, and the people who have come out and supported the book,” she said.

The book is currently available at or at Heartlinks Grief Center in Belleville, IL.  You can learn more about “Heartbroken” at where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly.  Proceeds from the sale of “Heartbroken” are donated to Heartlinks Grief Center, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville.

Leave a Comment