Henning Mankell Interview: My Responsibilty is to React

Interview with Swedish writer Henning Mankell, 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.

Henning Mankell (b. 1948) is 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 that sense, the ancient drama of Medea or Shakespeare’s Macbeth could be seen in that tradition, too. Furthermore, Mankell speaks about his early years, growing up only with a father, though 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.”

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

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Louisiana Channel is a non-profit video channel for the Internet launched by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in November 2012. Each week Louisiana Channel will publish videos about and with artists in visual art, literature, architcture, design etc.

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Supported by Nordea-fonden.


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