Please visit Ari Berk on the web at: www.ariberk.com
Ari Berk is an award-winning writer, folklorist, poet, visual artist, and scholar of literature, iconography, and comparative myth. Deeply dedicated to interdisciplinary writing, teaching, and research, Dr. Berk holds degrees in Ancient History (B.A.), American Indian Studies (M.A.), and Comparative Literature and Culture (Ph.D.). The former student of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday, he has studied at Oxford and traveled widely, making friends in many parts of the world.
By day, he is professor of English at Central Michigan University, teaching courses in mythology, folklore, American Indian studies, and medieval literature, as well as sitting on the board of directors of the Mythic Imagination Institute.
But by night, locked away within a high tower, Ari works tirelessly on his numerous writing projects surrounded by thousands of books and curious artifacts of ages past. To date, he has written the following books which you are most welcome to investigate further:
DEATH WATCH [Book one of The Undertaken Trilogy]
They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.
One night, Silas Umber's father Amos never comes home from work. Devastated, Silas struggles to understand what could make an ordinary mortician disappear from the face of the earth. But he's about to learn that Amos was no mere mortician: he was the Undertaker of Lichport, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands and Mist Homes, those states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town and necropolis where they all were born, and move in with Amos’s brother, Charles, the town's former funeral photographer.
Even while Silas eagerly explores his father’s town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber’s ornate, museum-like house—something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father’s disappearance. Determined to find his father, Silas’s search leads him to his father’s old office, where he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.
With the Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport’s secret history—and discovers that he has inadvertently taken on his father’s mantle as Lichport’s Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father, no matter the cost.
THE SECRET HISTORIES(tm) Series (Templar UK/Candlewick US) - For thousands of years The Order of the Golden Quills have chronicled and collected knowledge and wisdom of The Huldur or Secret Folk, those races spoken of in legend, about whom little is now known. The Secret Histories(tm) books reveal the wonders and mysteries in the landscapes around us all the time -- the places whose stories are forgotten, or are still waiting to be discovered -- the places where Secret Folk still reside, waiting to shake hands with us again. The first two volumes are:
---THE SECRET HISTORY OF GIANTS
The Order of the Golden Quills presents its first volume of study on the mighty Giants. In this tome we discover the life of these titans and the work they have undertaken to shape our world. Explore their secrets, witness their fun... and their fury, and learn where to seek out the noble Great Folk... for they might be nearer than you think.
**Winner if the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) 2009 Notable Award.
**Winner of the Parent's Choice 2008 Recommended Award
---THE SECRET HISTORY OF MERMAIDS AND CREATURES OF THE DEEP
A fascinating compendium investigating the undersea world of the merfolk exploring: oceanic magic, merfolk language and customs, underwater villages, historical evidence of merfolk and their unfortunate capture, maps of the oceanic zones and their various inhabitants, perilous creatures of the sea and how to avoid them, and remarkable revelations about merfolk/human relations.
COYOTE SPEAKS - WONDERS OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN WORLD (Abrams, 2008) - Myths, legends and wonder tales from the ancient Native American world to the present. Beautifully illustrated with masterworks of Native American art. Written with Carolyn Dunn (Creek/Cherokee).
HOW TO BE A VIKING (Templar UK 2008) -- The account of Ari the Learned, a 12th century Icelandic scholar, written for young and aspiring Vikings to help them navigate the perils and adventures of the Norse world. Lessons include translating and reading runes, skaldic speaking, calendar customs, and safely traversing the nine worlds while avoiding trolls, dragons, and giants!
LADY COTTINGTON'S PRESSED FAIRY LETTERS (Abrams 2005) - The recently discovered book of Lady Angelica Cottington's fairy correspondence. Includes letters from such worthies as J.M. Barrie, Rasputin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Wendy Darling, Oscar Wilde, Annie Oakley and others. Illustrated by Brian Froud.
GOBLINS! (Abrams 2004) - Berk and Froud once again join forces, lifting the moldy latch and opening the door to the world of GOBLINS! Containing Messrs. Berk and Froud's curious experiments and first hand knowledge, this is the single greatest source of information regarding the Goblins' horrible habits, awful art, sticky tricks, bizarre customs, and crude culture (illustrated by Brian Froud).
THE RUNES OF ELFLAND (Abrams 2003) - A single word can be a world and every letter a land. The word "rune," long ago, could be a letter, a word, an epic, or a spell. Through this book's charms (poems), tellings (stories), gifts (ponderings), and lavish illustrations (by Brian Froud) we learn that the right words can still open a door into Elfland, into wonder, and that storied landscapes are all around us, even now, waiting to be discovered.