The first novel written by Henning Mankell was Bergsprängaren (The Rock Blaster). It is a narrative of the Swedish labour movement as told by an old man who looks back at his life, Swedish society and its need for solidarity – a theme that frequently reoccurs in several of Mankell’s works. Other topics frequently raised by Mankell in his books are Africa and vulnerable children, such as Chronicler of the Winds, the narrative about the street child Nelio who tells his life story while dying on a roof top.

In total, Henning Mankell has written twenty novels, twelve of which have been translated into English. Since the debut almost 40 years ago he has completed approximately one novel a year.

Mankell’s novels have been awarded several literary awards. Some of his most well-known novels are The Man From Beijing, Kennedy’s Brain and Italian Shoes.

In the autumn of 2012 Henning Mankell’s novel The Shadow Girls was released in England and the US.