Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Maria Funke[1] (German: [kɔʁˈneːli̯a ˈfʊŋ.kə] (About this soundlisten)) is a German author of children's fiction. She was born on 10 December 1958 in Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia. Funke is best known for her Inkheart trilogy (originally in German: Tintenwelt-Trilogie), published in the United Kingdom between 2004–2008. Many of her books have now been translated into English. Her work fits mainly into the fantasy and adventure genres. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Cornelia Funke
Cornelia Funke at 2008 Madrid, Spain book fair
Cornelia Funke at 2008 Madrid, Spain book fair
Born (1958-12-10) 10 December 1958 (age 61)
Dorsten, West Germany
GenreAdventure, fantasy
Notable worksInkheart trilogy
Rolf Frahm
(m. 1979; died 2006)

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


Cornelia Funke was born in 1958 in the town of Dorsten in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany[3] to Karl-Heinz and Helmi Funke. As a child, she wanted to become an astronaut and/or a pilot, but then she 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-oriented Gespensterjäger (Ghosthunters) and the Die wilden 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.[6] It was subsequently released as The Thief Lord by Scholastic[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). Cornelia's fans are sometimes referred to as Funkies.

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

In 2010, Cornelia released the first book in her Mirror worlds 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")[12] was released in Germany on 2 April 2015.[13]

In 2017, Funke published The Book No One Ever Read, the first work written by the author first in English, as opposed to being written in German first.[14] Funke calls the picture book her "Inkheart for kindergartners" and also illustrated the book herself.[15]

Funke has also embraced technology in writing and shares short stories based on her Reckless series online with her fans.[16]

Early in 2020, Funke stated on her website that she's in the final stages of writing the fourth installment of the MirrorWorld series. The novel will be called Auf silberner Fährte (On Silver Trail) and be published by October 2020 in Germany. Initially conceived as a trilogy, Funke surprisingly also announced in spring 2020, that a sequel of the Inkworld series called Die Farbe der Rache (The Color of Revenge) will be published by October 2021 in Germany.[17]

On writingEdit

On her personal homepage, Funke states that the vital starting point for a good book is an "idea".[18] 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."[19] 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.[20] 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."[21] 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. In her picture book, The Book No One Ever Read, Funke starts: "Every book longs to tell its story."[14]

Personal lifeEdit

Funke married printer Rolf Frahm in 1979. Their daughter, Anna, was born in 1989 and soon after their son, Ben, was born in 1994.[4] The family lived in Hamburg for 24 years,[4] until they moved to Beverly Hills in May 2005.[22][23] In March 2006, Rolf Frahm died of cancer.[24] He was a book printer and had given up his career as an architect to support his wife. Cornelia Funke has been the official patron of the children's hospice Bethel for dying children since February 2010.[25] Since May 2012 she is one of the German ambassadors of the UN Decade on Biodiversity.[26] Since 2013, she has also been the Official Patron of the charity Ecologia Youth Trust, which helps marginalised children and young people around the world.[27]


  • 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
  • 2008 Bambi - Culture
  • 2020 Special Award For Lifetime Achievement from the German Youth Literature Awards

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.


MirrorWorld seriesEdit

  • Reckless (2010)
  • Fearless (2013) [later renamed to "Living Shadows"]
  • The Golden Yarn (2016)
  • Auf silberner Fährte (announced 2020 German Release)

Inkheart seriesEdit

  • Inkheart (2003) (2005 English Release)
  • Inkspell (2005) (2005 English Release)
  • Inkdeath (2008) (2008 English Release)
  • Die Farbe der Rache (announced 2021 German Release)


  • Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost (First Edition 1993, English version 2007)
  • Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost (First Edition 1994, English version 2007)
  • Ghosthunters and the Totally Moldy Baroness! (First Edition 1995, English version 2007)
  • Ghosthunters and the Muddy Monster of Doom! (First Edition 2001, English version 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)

Picture booksEdit

  • The Princess Knight (2003)
  • Pirate Girl (2005)
  • The Wildest Brother (2006)
  • Princess Pigsty (2007)
  • The Pirate Pig (2015)
  • Emma and the Blue Genie (2015)
  • The Book No One Ever Read (2017)


  1. ^ "Cornelia". Cornelia Funke. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  2. ^ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH (8 October 2012). "Cornelia Funke: Prophetin im eigenen Land". FAZ.NET. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  3. ^ Encyclopedia of World Biography [1]:
  4. ^ a b c d Luise Pusch. "Cornelia Funke". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b Cornelia Funke biography,
  6. ^ a b "Cornelia Funke Biography". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Fantastic Fantasy by Cornelia Funke – Scholastic". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  8. ^ "". Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  9. ^ BookSense Book of the Year Children's Literature Archived December 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "The 2005 TIME 100". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  11. ^ Inkheart on IMDb/
  12. ^ "Ghosthunters: On Icy Trails (Gespensterjäger)". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Gespensterjäger - Auf eisiger Spur". Deutsche Filmbewertung und Medienbewertung FBW. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  14. ^ a b dpa. "Cornelia Funke und ein Buch, das niemand las" (in German). Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  15. ^ FM, Player, All About Cornelia Funke, retrieved 2018-02-17
  16. ^ "Cornelia Funke (@corneliafunke) | Commaful". Commaful. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  17. ^ "Die Farbe der Rache – Kapitel 1– Live-Lesung mit Rainer Strecker"
  18. ^ "Cornelia Funke – The Official Website". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Cornelia Funke – The Official Website". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Cornelia Funke – The Official Website". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Cornelia Funke – The Official Website". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Die einflußreichste Deutsche der Welt". Die Welt. 2005-04-15. Retrieved 17 January 2008.
  23. ^ "Cornelia Funke – The Official Website". Archived from the original on 20 February 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  24. ^ BookBrowse. "Cornelia Funke author biography". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  25. ^ "Cornelia Funke - Kinder- und Jugendhospiz Bethel". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  26. ^ "UN-Dekade Biologische Vielfalt  - Die Botschafter/innen der UN-Dekade". Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  27. ^ Ecologia Youth Trust. "Our People". Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  28. ^ Dege, Stefan (23 September 2016). "Star kids' author Cornelia Funke releases 'Dragon Rider' sequel after 19 years". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 29 January 2017.

External linksEdit