Henning Mankell: European Translation and Success Factors


This article examines how and why the work of the Swedish crime writer, Henning Mankell, travelled successfully across Europe. It informs strategies enabling small nation authors to navigate the international platform and access global markets. Research includes a series of original interviews with publishing figures contributing to the international status of Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series. Their views are presented across an author case study detailing: initial reception, original publisher, move into the international sphere, English-language publisher and narrative content. Findings determine that a committed and well-respected network of publishers, in key markets, is vital when bringing a good story to readers across the globe.

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  1. 1.

    All proceeding quotations, without references, are from original interviews.

  2. 2.

    I would like to thank The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland who funded this research.

  3. 3.

    Information provided by Leonhardt & Høier Literary Agency.

  4. 4.

    Henley [2].

  5. 5.

    Forshaw [1].

  6. 6.

    Translation provided by translator Laurie Thompson.

  7. 7.

    MacLehose has had an illustrious career with a focus on bringing European talent to an English-language readership, first as Publisher at The Harvill Press for 22 years, the leading translation house in Britain, where he published the likes of Henning Mankell and Peter Høeg, and then at The MacLehose Press, which was established in 2006, and is distributed by the independent house Quercus.

  8. 8.

    Forshaw, 2.

  9. 9.

    Venuti [4].

  10. 10.

    Krister Henriksson plays Kurt Wallander in the original Swedish films.

  11. 11.

    Forshaw, 21.

  12. 12.

    Forshaw, 21.

  13. 13.


  14. 14.

    Forshaw, 24.


  1. 1.

    Forshaw B. Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Henley J. Henning Mankell: the Last Wallander. The Guardian 2011.

  3. 3.

    Jacobsen K. Mankell–Kurt Wallander and the State of the World. Copenhagen: Gyldendal; 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Venuti L. The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London: Routledge; 2008.

    Google Scholar 

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Correspondence to Stephanie Craighill.

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Craighill, S. Henning Mankell: European Translation and Success Factors. Pub Res Q 29, 201–210 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12109-013-9319-2

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  • Fiction
  • Henning Mankell
  • Kurt Wallander
  • Small-nation publishing
  • Translation