Henning Mankell (1948-2015) who was one of Sweden’s favorite authors has recently passed away. He was a playwright and best known for his crime novels featuring Kurt Wallander, the chief inspector of Ystad Police Department. But he was also an awardwinning children’ s and youth author. For example he wrote the book series about the boy Joel who grew up in northern Sweden in the 1950s.
In the latter part of his life Mankell was resident in both Sweden and Mozambique. As he himself expressed it, he stood “with one foot in the snow and one foot in the sand.”
Mankell had a major social commitment to the Third World and saw his writing as some kind of solidarity work, where he took part for the weak. In his book The Fifth Woman (2001) translated by Steven T. Murray, Mankell wrote:
“Society had grown cruel. People who felt they were unwanted or unwelcome in their own country, reacted with aggression. There was no such thing as meaningless violence. Every violent act had a meaning for the person who committed it. Only when you dared accept this truth could you hope to turn society in another direction.”
To learn more about Mankell’s commitment to the Third World, you could read the autobiography I Die, but My Memory Lives On (2003).