Katherine Rundell

Portrait Katherine Rundell
© Nina Subin

Katherine Rundell was born in 1987 in Kent in England and spent ten years as a child living in Zimbabwe on account of her father’s diplomatic career. Her family’s move to Brussels at age 14 was a decisive change for her which she later addressed in her literary début. Rundell studied at St. Catherine’s College in Oxford from 2005 to 2008, during which time she discovered her passion for rooftop climbing, influenced by the book »The Night Climbers of Cambridge« (1937) about the students’ adventures. She became a fellow in English literature at All Souls College in Oxford and ultimately wrote her dissertation on the English poet and cleric John Donne.
In 2011, Rundell published her first book »The Girl Savage«, a story about Wilhelmina, a tomboyish girl who grows up on a farm in Zimbabwe and is sent to an upper-class boarding school in London after the death of her father, where she experiences a culture shock. A lightly edited version of the book was published in the US in 2014 under the title »Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms«; it received the 2015 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Rundell’s second book »Rooftoppers« (2013) tells of the adventures of Sophie, who is allegedly orphaned after a naval catastrophe, but later searches for her mother under the conviction that she survived the accident. She follows the only clue she has and ends up in Paris, where she embarks on a thrilling search on the rooftops of Paris with the help of Matteo and flees the strict Miss Eliot, who wants to put her in a British orphanage. Rundell won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award for »Rooftoppers«. The historical adventure novel »The Wolf Wilder« (2015) is about a twelve-year-old girl named Feo who lives with her mother in a small forest hut in the tsarist era. They earn their living with wolves, which are kept by the St. Petersburg upper class as pets and good luck symbols and are brought back to mother and daughter when they become too large and wild. After they are even designated to be killed, Feo’s mother refuses and is taken captive by a general. Feo escapes and sets off with a small wolf and a few pups to rescue her mother. Rundell’s most recent adventure novel »The Explorer« (2017), which won the children’s book prize at the 2017 Costa Book Awards, is about three friends and a little brother who try to survive in the wild after their aeroplane crashes in the Amazon rainforest.