Cornelia FunkeKathleen Waller
For years Cornelia Funke has been one of the best-known and bestselling children’s authors in Germany. In fact, many people have called her the German J. K. Rowling. Americans, however, were not exposed to Funke’s work until 2002, when her book Herr der Diebe was translated into English and released by Scholastic Press as The Thief Lord. The book made every major bestseller list and won countless awards. It also established Funke as a storyteller on an international scale, since the book has since been published in nearly forty countries. In 2003 Funke released her second book, Inkheart. Publisher’s Weekly called it “delectably transfixing,” and readers were left clamoring for more of their favorite new author. She always does her own sketches in pen and ink – she creates a picture of her own characters to help her write about them. Cornelia Funke describes herself as a passionate reader and one of her goals as an author is to “try to awaken the passion for reading in children and adults.”
Patrick RothfussKathleen Waller
Patrick Rothfuss is an American writer of epic fantasy. He is best known for his ongoing trilogy The Kingkiller Chronicle, which won him several awards, including the 2007 Quill Award for his debut novel, The Name of the Wind. Its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, topped The New York Times Best Seller list. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin to awesome parents who encouraged him to read and create through reading to him, gentle boosts of self-esteem, and deprivation of cable television. During his formative years, he read extensively and wrote terrible short stories and poetry to teach himself what not to do. He started and organizes a charity fundraiser called Worldbuilders which, since 2008, has raised over $10 million, primarily for Heifer International, a charity that provides livestock, clean water, education, and training for communities in the developing world. Life continues to rock for him, and he is working hard on writing the final installment of the series.
Leslie S. KlingerKathleen Waller
2018 Author, 2020 Moderator, 2021 Moderator
Leslie S. Klinger is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on the history of crime writing. Klinger’s work has received numerous awards and nominations, including the Edgar® for Best Critical-Biographical Book in 2005 for The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories and the Edgar for Best Critical-Biographical Book in 2019 for Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s, and he is the editor of the Library of Congress Crime Classics series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks, and the Library of Congress.