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
006 My hero / Ted Hughes by Michael Morpurgo (KISS)

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


036 My hero / Rober Lowell by Jonathan Raban (Kiss)
038 My hero / Charles Schulz by Jenny Colgan
041 My hero / David Linch by Paul Murray
042 My hero / Edwin Morgan by Robert Crawford (KISS)
058 My hero / Cy Twombly by Edmund de Waal


087 My hero / Alberto Moravia by John Burnside
095 My hero / Les Murray by Daljit Nagra (KISS)
096 My hero / Isaac Babel by AD Miller
097 Lucian Fred by Esi Edugyan
100 My hero / Tomas Tranströmer  (Kiss)


120 My hero / Graham Greene by Richard Holloway
134 My hero / Homer by Madeline Miller
146 My hero / Roald Dahl by Michael Rosen 

167 My hero / Oliver Sacks by Hilary Mantel
169 My hero / Jean Rhys by Linda Grant
176 My hero / Mae West by Kathy Lette
181 My hero / Lydia Davis by Ali Smith
184 My hero / Louise Bourgeois by Tracey Emin
185 My hero / Albert Camus by David Constantine
190 My hero / Iris Murdoch by Charlotte Mendelson
194 My hero / René Descartes by James Kelman
199 My hero / Albert Camus by Geoff Dyer

211 My hero / Mavis Gallant by Jhumpa Lahiri and Michael Ondaatje
219 My hero / William Shakespeare by Susan Cooper
222 My hero / Emily Brontë by Lucasta Miller
227 My hero / Salman Rushdie by Antonia Fraser
233 My hero / Robin Williams by Anne Fine
244 My hero / Jim Shepard by Joshua Ferris

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