22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Kenneth Oppel

Portrait Kenneth Oppel
© Ali Ghandtschi

Kenneth Oppel was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada. Even as a child he enjoyed writing fantasy stories, and when he was in seventh grade he decided he was going to be a writer.

While still a high-school student at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, his keen interest in video games led him to write the novel »Colin’s Fantastic Video Adventure« (1985). A family friend acquainted with Roald Dahl sent the British writer Oppel’s manuscript. Dahl recommended it to his agent, and thus helped it to be published. Oppel graduated with a BA in cinema studies and English from Trinity College at the University of Toronto. During his final year he wrote a second children’s novel »The Live-Forever Machine« (1990) as part of a seminar for creative writing. Oppel spent the next three years in England, where his wife was doing doctoral studies in Shakespeare in Oxford, during which he wrote a number of books. He subsequently moved to Newfoundland for two years and then returned to Toronto, where he and his family now live. Oppel became internationally known through his »Bat Trilogy«, comprising »Silverwing« (1997), »Sunwing« (1999) and »Firewing« (2002), which was complemented by the prequel »Darkwing« (2007). A trilogy set in a swashbuckling world of giant airships and strange aerial creatures followed (2004–2008/9), while a subsequent series about the twin teenaged brothers Frankenstein (of which the first volume was published in 2011) has made it to two volumes so far. Oppel has declared that he has no intention of writing a third volume for this series. In »Such Wicked Intent« (2012), the second volume, Victor Frankenstein tries to find a way to bring his brother back from the dead, thus forging a literary link to the events in Mary Shelley’s »Frankenstein« (1818). »The Nest« (2015), Oppel’s most recent work, draws readers into a boy’s darkest nightmares and fears and examines the themes of security, fear and the beauty of imperfection. »Quill & Quire«, the trade publication for Canadian publishing houses, for whom Oppel worked between 1995 and 1996 as an editor, declared the book a »children’s horror classic«.

Apart from books for younger readers, Oppel also writes film scripts and has published »The Devil’s Cure« in 2000, a novel for grown-up readers. He was awarded Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award, as well as The American Library Association Printz Honor Book Award in 2005 for »Airborn« (2004).