Nordic Noir: The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Another episode from the BBC’s excellent Time Shift series.  (Also see the earlier installment about Italian crime fiction).

Draw the curtains and dim the lights for a chilling trip north for a documentary which investigates the success of Scandinavian crime fiction and why it exerts such a powerful hold on our imagination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a literary blockbuster that has introduced millions of readers to the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction – yet author Stieg Larsson spent his life in the shadows and didn’t live to see any of his books published. It is one of the many mysteries the programme investigates as it travels to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in search of the genre’s most acclaimed writers and memorable characters.

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Henning Mankell – the Action that Proves the Word

Bestselling Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell – the creator of commissar Kurt Wallander – was on one of the ships aiming to break the illegal siege of Gaza, and was arrested and interrogated by Israeli soldiers. In the Guardian interview below he tells of his experiences, and says, “I believe so strongly in solidarity as an instrument to change the world, and I believe in dialogue, but it’s the action that proves the word.”

I was honoured to meet Henning Mankell in Palestine in 2009 when we were participants in Palfest. Afterwards Mankell wrote a wonderful article which concluded: “The fall of this disgraceful Apartheid system is the only thing conceivable, because it must be.” The Palfest video here shows our disturbing trip to occupied Hebron. Mankell speaks very movingly at 5:39. The Guardian interview comes after the break.

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Ending Apartheid

A great piece by best-selling crime writer and Palfest participant Henning Mankell, originally published in the Swedish paper Aftonbladet. Mankell was tremendously moved by what he saw in Palestine, and we hope he is able to transmit this passion to his millions of readers. Mankell is informed enough to realise that the two-state solution is no solution. He concludes, “The fall of this disgraceful Apartheid system is the only thing conceivable, because it must be.”

Henning Mankell (right) responds to Banksy's wall art
Henning Mankell (right) responds to Banksy's wall art

About a week ago, I visited Israel and Palestine. I was part of a delegation of authors with representatives from different parts of the world.

We came to participate in the Palestinian Literary Festival. The opening ceremony was supposed to take place at the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem.

We had just gathered when heavily armed Israeli military and policemen walked in and announced that they were going to stop the ceremony.

When we asked why, they answered: You are a security risk.

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