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 Cornelia Caroline Funke (pronounced [ˈfʊŋkə], FOON-ka[1]) is a multiple award-winning German author of children's fiction. She was born on December 10, 1958, in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia. Funke is best known for her Inkheart trilogy, published in 2004–2008. Many of her books have now been translated into English. Her work fits mainly into thefantasy and adventure genres. She currently lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Funke has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide.[2]


Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in the town of Dorsten in Westphalia, Germany[3] 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.[4] After finishing her studies, Funke worked for three years as a social worker. During her social work she focused on working with children who came from deprived backgrounds.[5] She had a stint illustrating books, but soon began writing her own stories,[4] inspired by the sorts of stories that had appealed to the deprived children she had worked with.[5] During the late 1980s and the 1990s, Funke established herself in Germany with two children's series, namely the fantasy-orientedGespensterjäger (Ghosthunters) and the Wilde Hühner (Wild Chicks) line of books. Funke has been called "the J. K. Rowling" of Germany; although she was highly successful in Germany, the first of her books to be translated into English was Herr der Diebe in 2002.[6] It was subsequently released as The Thief Lord byScholastic[6] and made it to the number 2 spot on The New York Times Best Seller list.[7] The fantasy novel Dragon Rider (2004) stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 78 weeks.[8] Following the success of The Thief Lord and Dragon Rider, her next novel was Inkheart (2003), which won the 2004 BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature award.[9] 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).[10] The trilogy was concluded in Inkdeath (published in Germany in 2007, English version Spring 2008, American version Fall 2008).

Funke also worked as a producer on the film adaptation of Inkheart.[11]

In 2010, Cornelia released the first book in her MirrorWorld series, Reckless, with the sequel, Fearless, publishing in the US in April 2013.

On writing[edit]

On her personal homepage, Funke states that the vital starting point for a good book is an "idea", and if that ideaters.[12] 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."[13] 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.[14] 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."[15]

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List of books

MirrorWorld Novels[edit]

Inkheart trilogy[edit]


  • 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)

Wild Chicks[edit]

  • 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)
  • Die Wilden Hühner und das Leben (2007, written by Thomas Schmitt but inculuding the characters from former "Die Wilden Huehner"-Books)

Picture books[edit]

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

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