About Stieg Larsson

Stieg Larsson (15 August 1954 – 9 November 2004) was a Swedish investigative journalist and writer, born in Skelleftehamn  outside Skellefteå. His Millennium trilogy of novels were published after he died in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a massive heart attack and he was the no 2 best-selling author in the world in 2008, behind Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini.

The Millennium Trilogy

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Current news articles state that different editions of this Millennium trilogy had sold between 27 - 40 million copies worldwide by April 2010.

Cover of "Modesty Blaise"
Cover of Modesty Blaise

It is reported that Stieg Larsson was influenced by both British and US detective novel authors. By writing his characters as reading these books he has inserted some of his favourites within the text of his own books. At the top of his favourite book list are Sara Paretsky, Agatha Christie, Val McDermid, Dorothy Sayers and Peter O'Donnell (Modesty Blaise).

But perhaps his strongest influence comes from Sweden, his own country - Astrid Lindgren's childrens book Pippi Longstocking. The girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, is  based on Pippi Longstocking, how Larsson imagined her to be if she was all grown up.

Stieg Larrson wrote both for fun and money. As a science fiction fan, he was editor or co-editor of several SF fanzines. He was a political activist for the Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers League) and the editor of the Swedish Trotskyist journal Fjärde internationalen. He wrote regularly for the weekly Internationalen, but Larsson was also a photographer and worked as a graphic designer at the largest Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT) between 1977 and 1999.

Due in June 2010, is a  biography of Stieg Larsson called The Man Who Left Too Soon. It's author, Barry Forshaw, said that the outrage that runs through Larsson's trilogy - anger at men who beat and abuse women, contempt for corrupt industrialists and hate groups was because he was "a man who thought the world could be better." Apparently Larsson had a tough old grandfather, a communist who risked his life during the 1930s speaking out against Hitler and Nazism, who had a strong influence on Larsson.

Larsson's political ideals and journalism experience led him to found the Swedish Expo Foundation in 1995. Similar to the British Searchlight Foundation, this foundation was established to "counteract the growth of the extreme right and the white power-culture in schools and among young people." He was an influential debater and lecturer on the subject and became such a formidable foe of  "hate groups" that for years he suffered death threats as editor of the Expo Foundation magazine. Some of his fans even wonder if he was murdered but rumours that his death was suspicious, because of death threats received as editor of Expo, have been denied.

At his death, Larrson left an unfinished manuscript of a fourth novel, and synopses of the fifth and sixth in the Millennium books, which was intended to be a series of ten novels. Rumors say these are stored on a laptop and hidden somewhere in a safe, while Larsson's long time partner Eva Gabrielsson, struggles with Swedish inheritance law and Larsson's family over control of Larssons estate.

The Swedish film version of Stig Larsson "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", released in Scandinavia in 2009, was recently released in America. The Swedish versions of the next two films are expected in U.S. theatres later this year. According to the U.S. publisher, Knopf,  Sony Pictures plan to make an English-language film adaptation of Larssons Millennium trilogy.

Sources for Information:
Man behind Girl with Dragon Tattoo from CNN
Wikipedia contributors, 'Stieg Larsson', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 April 2010, 16:01 UTC,  

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