Henning Mankell

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Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell (born February 3, 1948) is a renowned Swedish crime writer, occasional children's author and dramatist, best known for a series of mystery novels starring his most iconic creation, Inspector Kurt Wallander.

Life and career

Mankell was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and grew up in Sveg (Härjedalen) and Borås (Västergötland). Mankell's father Ivar was a judge and his grandfather, also called Henning Mankell (1868–1930), was a composer. At the age of 20 he already started a career as author and assistant director at the Riks Theater in Stockholm. In the following years he collaborated with several theaters in Sweden.

In his youth Mankell was a left-wing political activist and a strong opponent of the Vietnam War, South African apartheid and Portugal's colonial war in Mozambique. In the 1970s Mankell moved from Sweden to Norway and lived with a Norwegian woman who was a member of the Maoist Communist Labor Party of Norway. Mankell took part in the party's activities but never himself joined the party.[1]

After living in Zambia and other African countries, Henning Mankell was invited to become the artistic director of Teatro Avenida in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. He now spends at least half the year in Maputo working with the theatre and writing. Recently he built up his own publishing house (Leopard Förlag) in order to support young talents from Africa and Sweden.

He is married to Eva Bergman, daughter of Ingmar Bergman. On 12 June 2008 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.[2]

Mankell recently donated 15 million Swedish kronor to SOS Children's Villages for a village for homeless children in Mozambique. Mankell has said he's giving away half of his income to charity causes.

Mankell developed two original stories for German cop show Tatort. Actor Axel Milberg, who portrays Inspector Klaus Borowski, had asked Mankell to contribute to the show as the two were promoting The Chinaman audio book, a project that Milberg had worked on. The episodes will be broadcast in Germany in 2010.[3][4]

Mankell is set to work on a screenplay for Sveriges Television about his father-in-law, the famous movie and theatre director Ingmar Bergman during 2010 and the series will be produced in four one-hour episodes. Production is planned for 2011. Mankell pitched the project to Sveriges Television and will include international co-producers/financiers.[5]

Political views

Mankell participated in the Protests of 1968 in Sweden, protesting among other things, the Vietnam War, the Portuguese Colonial War and the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Furthermore, he got involved with the society Folket i Bild/Kulturfront which focused on cultural policy studies. During his stay in Norway, he got in contact with the Norwegian Workers' Communist Party and took an active part in their actions.[citation needed]

In 2009, Mankell was a guest at a Palestinian literary conference. Thereafter, he claimed to have seen "repetition of the despicable Apartheid system that once treated Africans and coloured as second-class citizens in their own country". He also found a resemblance between the Israeli West Bank barrier and the Berlin Wall. Considering the environment the palestinian people live in, he continued, it is not astonishing that "some decide to become suicide bombers....it is strange that there are not more of them". "The Israelis" would "destroy lives" and the Israeli State is not to have a future in his current form, as a two-state solution would not reverse the "historical occupation". He claimed to have not encountered antisemitism during his journey, just "hatred against the occupants that is completely normal and understandable".[6]

Gaza flotilla

Henning Mankell was on board the MS Sofia, one of the boats which took part in the Gaza relief flotilla which tried to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza strip.[7] Following the Israeli armed forces' boarding of the flotilla on the morning of 31 May 2010, in which 9 flotilla members were killed, Mankell was deported to Sweden. He subsequently called for global sanctions against Israel.[8] He is currently considering to halt the Hebrew translations of his books.[9]


Crime fiction

Kurt Wallander

Kurt Wallander is a fictional police inspector living and working in Ystad,[10] Sweden. In the novels, he solves shocking murders with his colleagues. The novels have an underlying question: "What went wrong with Swedish society?" The series has won many awards, including the German Crime Prize and the British 2001 CWA Gold Dagger for Sidetracked. The most recent book, The Pyramid, is a collection of short stories about Wallander's past. In an interview about the new British adaptations starring Kenneth Branagh, Mankell recently conceded that he had in fact begun work on a new Wallander novel.

Linda Wallander


Other fiction

Children's books

Books about Sofia

  • Secrets in the Fire — 2000 (Eldens hemlighet, 1995 )
  • Playing with Fire — 2002 (Eldens gåta, 2001)
  • The Fury in the Fire – 2009 (Eldens vrede, 2005)

Joel Gustafson series

  • A Bridge to the Stars — 2005 (Hunden som sprang mot en stjärna — 1990)
  • Shadows in the Twilight — 2007 (Skuggorna växer i skymningen — 1991)
  • When the Snow Fell — 2007 (Pojken som sov med snö i sin säng – 1996)
  • The Journey to the End of the World — 2008 (Resan till världens ände – 1998)

For younger children

  • The Cat Who Liked Rain – 2007

Film and television

Mankell has also written original screenplays for television.

  • Unnamed Ingmar Bergman docudrama (2012) TV mini-series[13]
  • Talismanen (2003) TV mini-series (Co-written with Jan Guillou)
  • Labyrinten (2000) TV mini-series
  • Etterfølgeren (1997)[14]


Plays with no release date available:

[15] [16]

Film and television adaptations

Awards and honours

Astrid Lindgren Prize


  1. Augustsson, Lars Åke; Hansén, Stig (2001). De svenska maoisterna (in Swedish). Gothenburg: Lindelöw. ISBN 91-88144-48-8. 
  2. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2008/Title,22097,en.html
  3. http://www.welt.de/fernsehen/article2682891/Henning-Mankell-schreibt-zwei-Tatort-Krimis.html
  4. http://www.welt.de/die-welt/vermischtes/hamburg/article5514723/Ironie-macht-die-Dinge-oft-einfacher.html
  5. http://www.svd.se/kulturnoje/nyheter/bergmans-liv-blir-tv-drama_3977337.svd
  6. http://www.palfest.org/mankellaftonbladet.html
  7. Flood, Alison (2010-05-31). "Author Henning Mankell aboard Gaza flotilla stormed by Israeli troops". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/may/31/henning-mankell-israel-flotilla-gaza. 
  8. Robert Booth; Kate Connolly; Tom Phillips; Helena Smith (2 June 2010). "Gaza flotilla raid: 'We heard gunfire – then our ship turned into lake of blood'". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/gaza-flotilla-raid-gunfire-ship-blood. 
  9. http://www.swedishwire.com/politics/4841-henning-mankell-may-halt-hebrew-book-version-
  10. pronounced Ue-stad ("ue" as in "muesli" and "a" as in "father" – not pronounced as in the recent 2008 UK television adaptation
  11. http://www.newsdesk.se/pressroom/leopard/pressrelease/view/ny-kurt-wallander-roman-slaepps-i-augusti-289969
  12. http://svenska.yle.fi/nyheter/artikel.php?id=156906
  13. http://www.screendaily.com/news/production/europe/mankell-to-develop-ingmar-bergman-drama/5009243.article
  14. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0542520/
  15. http://www.colombine.se/forfattare?query=mankell
  16. http://www.henningmankell.se/Teater/Pjäser

External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.