Cornelia Maria Funke (FOON-ka; German: [ˈfʊŋkə]) is a 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 the fantasy and adventure genres. She currently lives in Beverly Hills, California.
Funke has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide.
Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in the town of Dorsten in Westphalia, Germany 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. During her social work she focused on working with children who came from deprived backgrounds. 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 (C.H.I.X.) 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. It was subsequently released as The Thief Lord by Scholastic and made it to the number 2 spot on The New York Times Best Seller list. The fantasy novel Dragon Rider (2004) stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 78 weeks. 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. 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 concluded in Inkdeath (published in Germany in 2007, English version Spring 2008, American version Fall 2008). Cornelia's fans are sometimes referred to as Funkies.
Funke also worked as a producer on the film adaptation of Inkheart.
In 2010, Cornelia released the first book in her MirrorWorld series, Reckless, with the sequel, Fearless, published in the US in April 2013. In 2015, the film Ghosthunters: On Icy Trails (German original title: "Gespensterjäger") was released in Germany on April 2, 2015.
On her personal homepage, Funke states that the vital starting point for a good book is an "idea". 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."
Her social work has inspired her way in which she deals with the themes in her literature. In The Thief Lord, she shows children being in a difficult situation, but also still being children. Scipio says once that he is a good thief because he is small. She is willing to celebrate children for their own strengths, not just their ability to act like adults.
Funke married printer Rolf Frahm in 1981. Their daughter, Anna, was born in 1989 and their son, Ben, in 1994. The family lived in Hamburg for 24 years, until they moved to Beverly Hills in May 2005. In March 2006, Rolf Frahm died of cancer.
- 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 Thief Lord (2000)
- Dragon Rider (2004)
- When Santa Fell to Earth (2006)
- Igraine the Brave (2007)
- Saving Mississippi (2010)
- Ghost Knight (2012)
- A Griffin's Feather (2016)
- Reckless (2010)
- Fearless (2013)
- The Golden Yarn (2016)
- Inkheart (2003)
- Inkspell (2006)
- Inkdeath (2008)
- Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost (2006)
- Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost
- Ghosthunters and the Totally Moldy Baroness! (2007)
- Ghosthunters and the Muddy Monster of Doom! (2007)
- Die Wilden Hühner (1993) – The Summer Gang (C.H.I.X. – Book 1)
- Die Wilden Hühner auf Klassenfahrt (1995) – The New Girl (C.H.I.X. – Book 2)
- 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 Schmidt but including the characters from former "Die Wilden Huehner"-Books)
- The Princess Knight (2003)
- Pirate Girl (2005)
- The Wildest Brother (2006)
- Princess Pigsty (2007)
- The Pirate Pig (2015)
- Emma and the Blue Genie (2015)