Henning Mankell has announced that he has cancer via an article in today's Göteborgs-Posten, a Swedish newspaper. The Swedish author, who is famous for his Inspector Kurt Wallander detective novels, described how he'd learned of his cancer two weeks ago on a visit to his orthopaedic surgeon in Stockholm.
The 65 year-old crime writer also revealed today that he is planning to document his battle with the illness via a regular newspaper column. He told of how he'd visited his orthopaedic surgeon with what he thought was a slipped disc but turned out to be several tumours across his body.
"It was serious," Mankell wrote. "I had a tumour in my neck and also a tumour in the left lung. In addition, there were suspicions that it had spread elsewhere in the body."
Despite the shock of learning of his advanced cancer, Mankell said he was philosophical. "When I went back to Gothenburg the following day I did it with a serious diagnosis of cancer," he wrote. "I do not have any particular memories of the journey back to Gothenburg. Only a deep sense of gratitude that my wife Eva was with me.
"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," Henning explained, adding "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."
Gabriel Byström, the culture editor at Götebergs-Posten, said that it was natural for Mankell to choose to document his illness in this particular newspaper. "Henning Mankell has been writing for the culture section of GP for a couple of years now, and he lives in a suburb of Gothenberg," he said.
Mankell's books were given a boost in popularity in the UK when the stories were adapted into the award-winning BBC One television drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh as the titular detective hero.