Norwegian authors were mourning the death this week of Swedish author Henning Mankell, saying he’d been an inspiration for their own work and helped pave the way for export of Scandinavian crime.
Author and editor Jon Michelet hailed Mankell both on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s nightly national newscast Monday evening and in newspaper Aftenposten on Tuesday. He noted how Mankell was not only a gifted writer whose books have been translated into 40 languages but also a down-to-earth champion of social justice who never got carried away by his fame and success.
“He has been an important and perhaps underestimated door-opener for Scandinavian crime in the rest of the world,” author Jo Nesbø told state broadcaster NRK. “Henning Mankell is a name that’s strong all over Europe and in the US.”
Unni Lindell, who also has a string of crime novels to her credit, said Mankell’s death to cancer at an age of 67 was a loss not just for Sweden. “Mankell laid the foundation for what’s good crime literature,” Lindell told news bureau NTB. “He’s a great role model for many.”
Author Tom Egeland called Mankell an “unusually socially engaged person” who used his crime novels to put the spotlight on areas of society deserving criticism. “He really cared about the disadvantaged,” Egeland said. Added author Klaus Hagerup: “It’s a bit of a cliché to say, but the world became poorer when he passed away.”