Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell to chronicle his fight with cancer

Swedish author Henning Mankell attends a news conference in 2010; on Wednesday he revealed in a local newspaper he has cancer and intends to write about it.
(Johannes Eisele / AFP/Getty Images)

Henning Mankell, the Swedish crime writer who created the Kurt Wallander novels, has revealed he has cancer and says he plans to write a series of articles chronicling his fight with the disease.

Mankell, 65, wrote an account of receiving his diagnosis for the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper. Doctors told him he had the illness two weeks ago after he visited an orthopedic surgeon in Stockholm for what he thought was a slipped disc, he wrote.

“I do not have any particular memories of the journey back to Gothenburg,” he wrote, according to a translation in The Guardian. “Only the stubborn gratitude that my wife, Eva, was with me.”

Days later, further tests revealed tumors in his neck and left lung. “My anxiety is very profound, although by and large, I can keep it under control,” he wrote.

Eventually, Mankell arrived at the decision he should go public with his diagnosis.


“At a very early stage I decided to try to write about this, because it is ultimately about the pain and suffering that afflicts so many people,” he wrote. “I have decided to write it just as it is, about the difficult battle it always is…. But I will write from the perspective of life, not death.”

Mankell has written 11 Kurt Wallander novels, all of which have been translated into English. (A TV series based on those novels aired on PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery!” starring Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander.) An outspoken leftist, he protested the Vietnam War, and was a passenger in a flotilla of ships that attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010.


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