Tributes for the late Henning Mankell

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As with his humanitarian and literary work, the greatly admired writer’s death has made a resounding global impact.  

The world has lost one of its truly admired authors; a talented gentleman of whom dedicated his life to making a stand for civil rights in life, as well as fiction. Henning Mankell’s name is synonymous with the troubled and unassumingly brilliant detective Kurt Wallander. Through his magnitude of literary accomplishments, with which Mankell has received a plethora of awards and honours, we have welcomed an inspirational man into our hearts. Now, for those of us who were not aware, we are finding out about the real Henning Mankell; the man whose name is also synonymous with philanthropy and a remarkable altruistic spirit.

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The Swedish Wallander series came to an end in 2013, with Kurt Wallander’s exit from our screens due to the character’s debilitating Alzheimer’s disease. In the aftermath, Mankell told The Guardian: “I shall not miss Wallander,” which makes the closing of a chapter even more bittersweet and melancholic. Krister Henriksson, the star of Wallander (2005-2013), shared a few touching words with the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper: “It feels today as if it’s my little brother who has passed away. I would like to hug him.”

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Sir Kenneth Branagh, who translated the role of Kurt Wallander in the English-language adaptation of the show, expressed a heartfelt testimonial to the BBC: “In life and in art Henning Mankell was a man of passionate commitment. I will miss his provocative intelligence and his great personal generosity. Aside from his stringent political activism, and his decades of work in Africa, he also leaves an immense contribution to Scandinavian literature. His loving family, and those privileged to know him, together with readers from all over the world, will mourn a fine writer and a fine man.”

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Mankell’s own publishers at Leopard Förlag praised him in his recent passing: “Henning Mankell was one of the great Swedish writers, loved by readers here at home and around the world.”

Fellow writers, publishers and fans commemorated Mankell with fond messages on Twitter:

Arne Dahl: ‏@arne_dahl  Henning Mankell. RIP.

Ian Rankin: I interviewed Henning Mankell @edbookfest a few years back, just as his books were being published in English. His life read like a novel.

Lisa Appignanesi: ‏@LisaAppignanesi So very sad to hear that #HenningMankell, the greatest of Nordic Noir, has died. RIP

Alice Christian: @CrimeAmbitions Very sad – I owe my love of #NordicNoir and my desire to research Scandinavian #criminology and #socialpolicy to him

Penguin Books UK: ‏@PenguinUKBooks We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our much-loved authors, Henning Mankell

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In The Telegraph, Mankell’s iconic character Wallander has been chronicled as having “personified ‘Nordic noir’”. With over 35 million copies of his detective series selling worldwide, he can certainly be hailed as an established influence of the crime genre. However, his own influence in his gifted career comes from his social conscience. After visiting Africa, Mankell sensed a change that stayed with him forever: “And I immediately saw things that I wouldn’t have seen if I’d had a perspective only from Europe. I would say that the African experience has made me a better writer and also a better human being.”

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Henning Georg Mankell 1948-2015