Monday, 17 November 2014

My Hero Monday: Cornelia Funke, The Woman Who Started It All

Hey everyone!

I know it's not my usual day of the week - not that it can be considered 'usual' given how often I've started missing weeks, whoopsie! - but today I'm doing something a little bit special.

My Hero Monday is a new blog chain started up by feminist blog A Girl's Voice, and this particular linkup is dedicated to the female authors who encourage and inspire us with their work.

I, being the maniac bouncing ball of loving feminist energy that I am, simply could not resist. So, allow me to introduce you to my first and favourite bookish hero: Cornelia Funke.


Name: Cornelia Maria Funke (pronounced FOON-ka, in accordance with German pronounciation)
Born: 10th December 1958
Age: 56 years awesome

What books has she written? Which one is your favourite? Why?

While most famous for her award-winning Inkheart trilogy, she's also written six other novels (including, most prominently, The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, Igraine The Brave and Ghost Knight), the four urban fantasy Ghosthunter books, and is currently working on the Mirrorworld novels. In her native Germany, she is also famosu for the Wild Chicks / Wilden Hühner books.

My favourites, of course, are the Inkheart trilogy, particularly the titular first entry. Anyone who knows me knows I'm an absolute sucker for pretty prose, and Inkheart was the first book to introduce me to the concept of merging it with a story every bit as engaging and action-packed as those that were mother's milk to me in my early teen-hood. Similarly, she's also responsible for the existence of Dustfinger, who remains my touchstone for complex, engaging anti-heroes to this day.

When did I you first hear about her?

I don't actually recall hearing about her prior to picking up Inkheart, and I don't even remember where I found that (lookit me fount of accurate memories!) I wasn't exactly enthralled by the premise initially, so it probably just lived on my shelf for a few years before I finally picked it up . . . and the rest is history!

What makes her one of my heroes?

Two words: skill, and speed. The sheer volume of books she's written over her career is something I, slow, slow human that I am, gaze upon with admiration and envy. The sheer dedication to her craft is something I aspire to, and remember, particularly on days when I'm having one of my existential angst-fests and contemplating running away to live in a cardboard box out the back of Tesco's to escape all the responsibilities I seem to be very bad at keeping up with.

Furthermore, the imagination and depth present in each story is unique. Each is clearly a labour of love, and for one woman to have so many stories in her is, to me, a testament to the creative possibilities of the human mind. 

Finally, I think it is also worth mentioning that English is not her first language. With the world dominated by English-print books, I like to think Funke proves something about the endurance of a good story across language barriers, and that the world of fiction is something to which we can all contribute, regardless of the type of squiggly things it uses.


"If I was a book, I would like to be a library book, so I would be taken home by all different sorts of kids. A library book, I imagine, is a happy book."

"I don't like to eat the same dish every day, so I read very different things."

"I will try to write books until I drop dead."

To aspiring authors: "Read - and be curious. And if someone says to you: 'Things are this way. You can't change it' - don't believe a word." 


There we have it, folks! You can find the rest of the linkup in the first of the links above - and, if you feel the urge, do a post yourself in as official or unofficial a capacity as you like. Also, feel free to put in a mention of your own hero in the comments - let's get some love in the room, shall we?

~ Charley R


  1. Ohhh, I love all these books and I love all these quotes and AHHHH. She is amazing. Although my world has rocked a bit on its proverbial hinges knowing her name isn't pronounced "funk". Foon-ka? I...I don't even know how to continue. (And just imagine me yabbering "FUNK" in an Australian accent. Honestly, I'm very uncultured.)

    1. She's German - they do strange things with pronounciation. I think if it had the umlauts it would be more logical to the rest of us.