Håkan Nesser, born in 1950, is one of Sweden’s most beloved authors. He divides his time between Stockholm and the island of Gotland. His crime novels have been extremely successful in Sweden as well as internationally, and have resulted in several films. He moves effortlessly between genres, but he is probably most known as the author of the classic van Veeteren crime series and the books about inspector Gunnar Barbarotti. Håkan Nesser’s books have been translated into more than 25 languages and sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Håkan was born in Kumla and worked as a secondary school teacher in Uppsala before becoming a writer full-time. His debut, the romantic novel Koreografen (The Choreographer) was published in 1988 and in 1993 came his first book featuring Detective Chief Inspector van Veeteren – the first instalment of what was to become a ten part series. The main character, Van Veeteren, is a detective in the early novels and later the owner of an antique books shop. The series is set in a fictitious city called Maardam, said to be located in northern Europe in a country which is never named but resembles Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany.
Nesser has received numerous awards for his novels featuring Inspector Van Veeteren, including the European Crime Fiction Star Award (Ripper Award) 2010/11, the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Prize (three times) and Scandinavia's Glass Key Award. The Van Veeteren Series is published in over 20 countries and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
After 10 crime novels about inspector Van Veeteren, Håkan Nesser introduced yet another book series in 2006. The final book was published in 2012. The series centers on Detective Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti, who lives in the small town Kymlinge in the south of Sweden. Planned as a crime series, Håkan Nesser’s Barbarotti novels do not follow the classic structure of crime novels. The first title, Human Without Dog, can well be described as a dramatic saga about a traditional Swedish family. A Completely Different Story is written from the perspective of the murderer, giving the reader a head start over the police. The third title, The Story about Mr. Roos, is above all the story of a man leaving his old life behind to find a new start. The Lonely Ones goes back in time to the 1970s, and a group of students whose travels behind the iron curtain will change them forever. The fifth and final book about Gunnar Barbarotti is also the first and only book about Ellen Bjarnebo, known as The Butcheress From Little Burma. The Barbarotti Series is published in over 10 countries and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Other well-received works by Nesser include the coming of age novel A Summer with Kim Novak, and Piccadilly Circus is not in Kumla, The Shadows and The Rain, the philosophical thriller The Fly and The Eternity, epistolary novel Dear Agnes!, the short story collections Barin’s Triangle and From Dr Klimke’s Horizon, the New York novel The Worms of Carmine Street, and the London-based novel The Sky Over London. 2013 saw the release of The Living and the Dead in Winsford, and Eleven days in Berlin was published in 2015.
Håkan Nesser was the first author to be awarded the prize for Best Swedish Crime Novel three times, and also the only one who has ever won the Danish prize Rosenkrantz-prisen twice. He was also awarded The Ripper Award in 2010.
Among the many honors Håkan Nesser has been awarded over the years, these are the most noteworthy: