How to pronounce Cornelia Funke: cor-neelia funka -click the link in the bio to hear the author pronounce her own name (funke is German for 'spark')
The German author, Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in Dorsten, in the German region of Westphalia. Following university, she worked for three years as a social worker in an educational project, working with children from difficult backgrounds. Following a post-graduate course in book illustration at the Hamburg State College of Design, she worked as a designer of board games and as an illustrator of children's books. Disappointment in the way some of the stories were told, combined with her desire to draw fabulous creatures and magical worlds, rather than familiar situations of school and home, inspired her to write her own stories for young readers.
During her time as a social worker, she worked with children from deprived backgrounds and discovered the sorts of stories that grasped their imaginations. These were the stories she wanted to write ones that would appeal to bookish children and to inspire those children who hadn't yet had positive reading experiences.
As a reader, Cornelia has always loved good fantasy, particularly British authors and their books, such as J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, and J. M Barrie's Peter Pan. Cornelia Funke's own success is now international, demonstrating the universal appeal and power of her storytelling.
Cornelia Funke researches each novel meticulously. For example, before writing Inkheart, she researched about booksellers, book collectors, book thieves and even book murderers as well as reading about martens and fire eaters. She then imagined the characters and the places they might go, and wrote down plot lines for the first 20 chapters. Then, and only then - after about six months she wrote the first sentence. A major novel will take her about a year to write. She always does her own sketches in pen and ink (her grandfather was a famous etcher), she creates a picture of her own characters to help her write about them.
She married printer Rolf Funke in 1981. They have two children, Anna (b. 1989) and Ben (b. 1994). Up until 2005 the Funke family lived in Hamburg, Germany, when they moved to Los Angeles. Sadly, in March 2006, Rolf died of cancer.
Bibliography to Date
The Thief Lord (2002)
Dragon Rider (2004)
When Santa Fell to Earth (2006)
Igraine The Brave (2007)
Saving Mississippi (2010)
Ghost Knight (2012)
Ghosthunter and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost (2006)
Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invisible Lightning Ghost (2006)
Ghosthunters and the Totally Moldy Baroness! (2007)
Ghosthunters and the Muddle Monster of Doom! (2007)
The Summer Gang (2012)
The New Girl (2012)
Cornelia Funke's website
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Hamburg, northern Germany
Where did you grow up?
In Dorsten, a little town in the midst of Germany (not very pretty).
What were you like at school?
Good - and not ambitious (which means, quite lazy) but I loved to write essays, though always too long and not always strictly on the topic, and English.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut, later on a pilot or live with the Red Indians. I was quite serious about all these plans.
What did you do after you left school?
I studied Education (the most stupid idea of my life), because I wanted to work in some way with children, not as a teacher, but as a social worker. I think, I wanted to make the world a better place, but I found out, that you can't live against your gifts. And my gifts are writing and drawing. I nevertheless learned very much about children, when I worked as a social worker. I still have the greatest respect for the ones, I met in those years - and they all had bad, bad things to deal with, and did it so bravely. In The Thief Lord I tried to describe, how much children can care for each other even under the worst circumstances, even if they are left alone by ...
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