Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Relaxing with her dogs

Often referred to as the ‘German J K Rowling’,  Cornelia Funke was chosen by Time Magazine as one of their 100 most influential people of 2005. She is Germany’s best selling children’s author, and her work has been translated into 39 languages including English.

Her best known works include Inkheart and The Thief Lord both of which have been made into films. Less well known is her love affair with Salisbury  which led to her writing Ghost Knight, set in Salisbury and the surrounding countryside. This story, inspired by Cornelia’s first visit to Salisbury and the Cathedral, tells of modern-day children at the Cathedral School becoming involved with ghostly figures from the past including William Longespee, who is summoned from his resting place in the cathedral, and the villain of the story, Lord Stourton. All of which makes for a cracking good yarn! And even better than that, a story where you can visit all the locations for yourself, thereby combining the magical and real worlds.

Cornelia as Ela in Salisbury cathederal
Cornelia dressed as Ela in Salisbury Cathedral
Cornelia dressed as Ela with attendant knight
Cornelia dressed as Ela with attendant knight

Another historical character that features in the book is Lady Ela Countess of Salisbury and Longespee’s wife. She is also represented by a feisty modern-day counterpart who takes on the task of reuniting William and Ela. You can read more about Ela in the historic women section of our website

Cornelia in Salisbury Cathedral by Longespee's tomb
Cornelia in Salisbury Cathedral by Longespee's tomb

In the interview Cornelia shares the impact of how being brought up in post-war Germany, in a town that was heavily bombed, has helped make her the person she has become. She also speaks of the importance of educational experiences and the influence of the ‘red nuns’ on her formative years. She goes on to talk about her success as a writer and her time spent researching Ghost Knight in Salisbury.

In recent years Cornelia has set up her Rim of Heaven Foundation which supports a number of charities, mainly related to the environment and climate change. In addition to this she hosts & funds retreats for young illustrators, musicians and writers from all over the world, currently at her home in California but in the future, following her move back to Europe later this year, in her new home in Tuscany.

Cornelia is a great supporter of Her Salisbury Story and will be involved in the literary competition we will be launching in May.

Further information about Cornelia, her books and the Rim of Heaven foundation can be found on her website

Article & interview by Barbara Evans

All photos supplied by Cornelia Funke

Ghost Knight is available in a Kindle edition or in print editions from used book dealers 



Her Salisbury Story would like to thank Cornelia for taking part in our project

Cornelia Funke

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