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Cornelia Caroline Funke (IPA: /'fʊŋkə/) (FOON-ka ) was born on December 10, 1958, in Dorstenmarker, North Rhine-Westphaliamarker. She is a multiple award-winning German author of children's fiction. Funke is best known for her Inkworld trilogy, with the English translation of the third book, Inkdeath, released on October 6, 2008. Many of her books have now been translated into English. Her work fits mainly into the fantasy and adventure genres. She currently lives in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

Funke has sold over 10 million copies of her books worldwide.


Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in the German town of Dorsten to Karl-Heinz and Helmi Funke. As a child, she wanted to become an astronaut and or a pilot, but then decided to study pedagogy at the University of Hamburg. After finishing her studies, Funke worked for three years as a social worker, focusing on children with a deprived background. She had a stint illustrating books, but soon began writing her own stories, inspired by the sorts of stories that had appealed to the deprived children she had worked with. During the late 1980s and the 1990s, Funke established herself in Germany with two children's series, namely the fantasy-oriented Gespensterjäger (Ghosthunters) and the Wilde Hühner (Wild Chicks) line of books. Her international break-through came with the fantasy novel Dragon Rider (1996), which stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 78 weeks, and was continued with The Thief Lord (2000, translated into English in 2002), which immediately climbed to the #2 position of the New York Times bestseller list, stayed there for 19 weeks and sold 1.5 million copies. Her follow-up novel was Inkheart (2003), which won the 2004 BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature award. Inkheart was the first part of a trilogy which was continued with Inkspell (2005), which won Funke her second BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature award (2006). The trilogy was finally concluded in Inkdeath (published in Germany in 2007, English version Spring 2008, American version Fall 2008).

On writing

On her personal homepage, Funke states that the vital starting point for a good book is an "idea", and if that idea is worth it, to research on interesting topics which support the idea, and to search for appropriate places and characters. She said of ideas that "they come from everywhere and nowhere, from outside and inside. I have so many, I won`t be able to write them down in one lifetime." The characters,Cornelia Funke elaborates, "Mostly they step into my writing room and are so much alive, that I ask myself, where did they come from. Of course, some of them are the result of hard thinking, adding characteristics, manners, etc., but others are alive from the first moment they appear", and pointed out that Dustfinger from "Inkheart" was one of the most vivid characters who ever popped into her mind. For aspiring authors, Funke says: "Read – and be curious. And if somebody says to you: 'Things are this way. You can`t change it' - don`t believe a word."

Personal life

Funke married printer Rolf Funke in 1981. They have two children, Anna (b. 1989) and Ben (b. 1994). For the next 24 years, the Funke family lived in Hamburg, before they moved to Los Angelesmarker in May 2005.


  • 1998 Kalbacher Klapperschlange for Drachenreiter (Dragon Rider)
  • 2000 Wildweibchenpreis for her collected works
  • 2000 La vache qui lit for Herr der Diebe (The Thief Lord)
  • 2001 Kalbacher Klapperschlange for Herr der Diebe
  • 2001 Preis der Jury der jungen Leser for Herr der Diebe
  • 2002 Evangelischer Buchpreis for Herr der Diebe
  • 2003 Corine for Herr der Diebe
  • 2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for Herr der Diebe
  • 2003 Nordstemmer Zuckerrübe for Kleiner Werwolf
  • 2004 Preis der Jury der jungen Leser for Tintenherz (Inkheart)
  • 2004 Phantastik-Preis der Stadt Wetzlar for Tintenherz
  • 2004 Kalbacher Klapperschlange for Tintenherz
  • 2004 Book Sense Children's Literature Award (Children's Literature Honor Books) for Inkheart
  • 2006 Book Sense Book of the Year Children's Literature Winner for Inkspell
  • 2008 Roswitha Prize

Cornelia Funke was voted into the Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of 2005. In 2006, Funke was awarded the Sakura Medal by the International Students of Japan in the Chapter Book category for her successful book, Dragon Rider.


The Inkworld Trilogy


  • Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost (2006)
  • Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost (2006)
  • Ghosthunters And the Totally Moldy Baroness! (2007)
  • Ghosthunters And The Muddy Monster Of Doom! (2007)

Die Wilden Hühner

  • Die Wilden Hühner, 1993
  • Die Wilden Hühner auf Klassenfahrt, 1995
  • Die Wilden Hühner, Fuchsalarm, 1998
  • Die Wilden Hühner und das Glück der Erde, 2000
  • Die Wilden Hühner und die Liebe, 2003
  • Die Wilden Hühner - gestohlene Geheimnisse (CD-ROM), 2004

Picture books

  • The Princess Knight (2003)
  • Pirate Girl (2005)
  • The Wildest Brother (2006)
  • Princess Pigsty (2007)


  2. Cornelia Funke Biografie
  3. Cornelia Funke biography,
  4. Cornelia Funke
  5. THE THIEF LORD by Cornelia Funke
  6. BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature
  7. The 2005 Time 100: Cornelia Funke
  8. How do you begin your writing process?
  9. How do you come up with all the ideas for your books?
  10. How do you come up with all the characters?
  11. What is your advice for aspiring authors?
  12. Cornelia Funke's Website

External links

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