Cornelia Funke - Tintenherz /Inkheart
Translated by Anthea Bell
What if you could summon characters from the pages of a book? As twelve-year-old Meggie comes to realize, encounters with tinkling fairies, knife-wielding henchmen and evil rulers are thrilling in fiction but can be mortally dangerous in real life…
Meggie and her father are passionate readers. They lead a quiet life in a house full of books until a mysterious stranger called Dustfinger appears at their door. With his improbable name and peculiar manners, the uninvited guest seems out-of-place in the modern world. In fact, Meggie has never seen anything quite like the horned marten he keeps as a pet – until she spots an identical animal in the pages of a fantasy novel. The book is called ‘Inkheart’ and soon Meggie encounters other characters who have stepped out of its plot, including arch-villain Capricorn who takes her hostage and steals the novel. But who unleashed Capricorn from the book? And what has it go to do with her father’s unusual talent for reading aloud?
Inkheart is the first part of Cornelia Funke’s trilogy about the thrills and perils of losing yourself in other people’s stories. Meggie’s adventures continue in Inkspell and Inkdeath.
Chicken House/Scholastic, 2003, 544 pp.
Meet author Cornelia Funke in Wellington at this year’s Writer’s Weekin March or visit her virtual ‘writing house’.
About the AuthorCornelia Funke is the author of over sixty books, many of which have been translated into English. Born in 1958, Cornelia Funke grew up in a small German town and started her career as a social worker for children in Hamburg. She soon switched to illustrating and writing, but she remains a strong supporter of children’s charities. Her books range from picture books for young readers to fantasy novels such as The Thief Lord and the young-adult Inkheart trilogy. The first part of the trilogy was adapted for the big screen in 2009. Cornelia Funke’s books are published in over thirty-five languages around the world. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
About the TranslatorAnthea Bell studied English language and literature at Oxford University in the 1950s and has since translated numerous works across a range of genres, principally from French and German. Her translations include books for children and young people, literary fiction, crime novels and non-fiction. She is the long-standing translator of Asterix into English and has worked on books by authors from Cornelia Funke to W.G. Sebald and Freud. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Years Honours for services to literature and literary translation.
Bookshelf / Bücherregal‘Inkheart’ is the fictional book at the heart of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy, but Meggie and her father also encounter characters from well-known stories from Treasure Island to Peter Pan. Here are a couple of the many novels that are part of the Inkheart world:
The Neverending Story (Die unendliche Geschichte)
Tr. Ralph Manheim
Written in 1979, Michael Ende’s famous story describes a journey of a reader – Bastian Balthazar Bux – into the dangerous world of a novel. At first young Bastian doesn’t seem much of a hero, but only he can stop the Nothing from conquering Fantastica.
Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill (Krabat)
Tr. Anthea Bell
New York Review Children’s Collection, 2014
Preussler’s novel was translated into English forty years ago and has now been reissued as a children’s classic. It tells of fourteen-year-old Krabat who is led to a mill by a mysterious dream and finds himself trapped in a secret brotherhood of dark magicians.
Text: Sally-Ann Spencer