Saturday, October 10, 2015

My hero / Henning Mankell by Ian Rankin

Henning Mankell

My hero: Henning Mankell by Ian Rankin

The Swedish crime writer was a complex figure who lived an extraordinary life. His novels featuring detective Kurt Wallander critiqued politics and big business and explored the human condition
Ian Rankin
Saturday 10 October 2015

enning Mankell, who died earlier this week at the age of 67, was a complex figure whose extraordinary life was matched by his body of writing. He was just out of his teens when he started work in a theatre in Stockholm, eventually travelling through Africa and landing the role of artistic director at the Teatro Avenida in Maputo. In all, he would pen more than 40 plays, though these remain little-known outside Mozambique and Sweden. Most of us know Mankell for the series of novels he wrote featuring the detective Kurt Wallander. Like Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall’s before him, Mankell used the crime genre as a means of critiquing politics, big business, social unrest and corruption.

The first Wallander novel, Faceless Killers, took on the issues of immigration and racial tension. Published in Swedish in 1991, it had to wait until 1997 for an English translation, but success came soon after, when Sidetracked, which addressed child prostitution, won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger in 2001. Always politically active, Mankell was deported after taking part in an attempt to breach the Israeli embargo of the Gaza Strip. He also set up a publishing house to help Swedish and African writers, and gave huge amounts to charity, while of an evening he might sit down to watch a film with his father-in-law, Ingmar Bergman – something I quizzed him on during our session at the Edinburgh book festival in 2002.
In a Guardian interview in 2013, Mankell said: “I learn more about the human condition by living with one foot in the snow and one foot in the sand”, a reference to his peripatetic life. He showed us the human condition, warts and all, as seen through the eyes of an engagingly flawed but deeply humane central character, and paved the way for every Scandinavian detective who came after him.

001 My hero / Oscar Wilde by Michael Holroyd
002 My hero / Harley Granville-Barker by Richard Eyre
003 My hero / Edward Goldsmith by Zac Goldsmith
004 My hero / Fridtjof Nansen by Sara Wheeler 
005 My hero / Mother Mercedes Lawler IBVM by Antonia Fraser

007 My hero / Ernest Shepard by Richard Holmes
008 My hero / JG Ballard by Will Self
009 My hero / Alan Ross by William Boyd
010 My hero / Ben the labrador by John Banville

011 My hero / Vicent van Gogh by Margaret Drabble
012 My hero / Franz Marek by Eric Hobsbawm


017 My hero / Jack Yeats by Colm Tóibín
018 My hero / Francisco Goya by Diana Athill
019 My hero / Max Stafford-Clark by Sebastian Barry
020 My hero / Arthur Holmes by Richard Fortey

036 My hero / Robert Lowell by Jonathan Raban
037 My hero / Beryl Bainbridge by Michael Holroyd
038 My hero / Charles Schulz by Jenny Colgan
039 My hero / Oliver Knussen by Adam Foulds
040 My hero / Annie Proulx by Alan Warner

041 My hero / David Lynch by Paul Murray
042 My hero / Edwin Morgan by Robert Crawford
043 My hero / Anne Lister by Emma Donoghue
044 My hero / Jane Helen Harrinson by Mary Beard
045 My hero / Edmund Burke by David Marquand
046 My hero / Shelagh Deleaney by Jeanette Winterson
047 My hero / Christopher Marlowe by Val McDermid
048 My hero / Gwen John by Anne Enright
049 My hero / Michael Mayne by Susan Hill
050 My hero / Stanley Spencer by Howard Jacobson

051 My hero / William Beveridge by Will Hutton
052 My hero / Jean McConville by Amanda Foreman
053 My hero / Alexander Pushkin by Elaine Feinstein
058 My hero / Cy Twombly by Edmund de Waal

079 My hero / Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman
087 My hero / Alberto Moravia by John Burnside
096 My hero / Isaac Babel by AD Miller
097 Lucian Freud by Esi Edugyan
100 Thomas Tranströmer by Robin Robertson
102 My hero / David Hockney by Susan Hill


190 My hero / Iris Murdoch by Charlotte Mendelson
194 My hero / René Descartes by James Kelman
199 My hero / Albert Camus by Geoff Dyer


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