Henning Mankell: My Responsibility is to React
Interview with the acclaimed Swedish writer Henning Mankell (1948-2015), whose books have sold in more than 40 million copies. Here he reflects upon his work, inspirations and the role of the intellectual in society.
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Henning Mankell (b. 1948 – d. 2015) is perhaps best known for his crime fiction and his character Kurt Wallander, a police inspector living and working in the Swedish town of Ystad. In the interview he states that he regards crime fiction as one of the oldest literary genres in the world. Crime fiction, Mankell argues, has always mirrored the surrounding society. In this sense, the ancient drama of Medea or Shakespeare’s Macbeth could be seen in that tradition too.
Furthermore, Mankell talks about his early years, growing up with only a father in a family in which music and books played an important role. “The real artist is the child,” Mankell says, as a child does not see any limits in life and dares to ask all the important questions. Finally, Mankell reflects upon his continuos engagement in current affairs, whether it concerns matters of illiteracy in his second home Africa or his outspoken critic of the state of Israel in relation to the Palestinians. “As a writer, I am an intellectual,” Mankell says. “And as an intellectual, I have to speak.”
Henning Mankell was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in connection to the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, August 2012.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Honey Beckerlee
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2012
Supported by Nordea-fonden