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Henning Mankell Dies Aged 67

6th October 2015

The death has been announced of Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell from lung and neck cancer at the age of 67.

He was the author of around 40 novels, 11 of which featured his best known character, the police detective Kurt Wallander. His books were translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. He also plays, novels, children's books and screenplays.

His UK publishers, Penguin Random House imprints Vintage and Harvill Secker, said that the world was "a sadder place for having lost such a charismatic and honourable man."

Writing in the Guardian, Andrew Brown said Mankell “established almost single-handedly the global picture of Sweden as a crime writer’s ideal dystopia. He took the existing Swedish tradition of crime writing as a form of leftwing social criticism and gave it international recognition, capturing in his melancholy, drunken, bullish detective Kurt Wallander a sense of struggle in bewildered defeat that echoed round the world.”

Mankell was born in Stockholm, the son of a lawyer and was brought up by his father following his parents’ divorce when Henning was still a baby. He dropped out of secondary school and joined the merchant navy. He went to Paris in 1966 but then moved to work as a stagehand in Stockholm. He wrote his first play at the age of 20 shortly followed by a novel The Stone-Blaster. Kurt Wallander made his first appearance in the 1989 novel Faceless Killers. The books were later televised, with Sir Kenneth Branagh playing the detective in the English language version

Mankell's last book, Quicksand: What It Means To Be A Human Being followed the discovery that he was suffering from cancer, and is due to be published in English next spring.

Although based in Sweden, Mankell spent large portions of time in Mozambique, where he ran a theatre company and helped in the fight against Aids.

He was married with one son.

 

 

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