Mankell's grandfather, also named Henning Mankell (1868–1930), was a composer.
At the age of 20 he had already started a career as author and assistant director at the Riksteater in Stockholm.
After living in Zambia and other African countries, Mankell was invited to become the artistic director of Teatro Avenida in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.
Recently he built up his own publishing house (Leopard Förlag) in order to support young talents from Africa and Sweden.
He is married to Eva Bergman, daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
In January 2014 Mankell told in public that he had been diagnosed with cancer.
Book and writing awards
Swedish Crime Writers' Academy, Best Swedish Crime Novel Award for Faceless Killers, The Nils Holgersson Prize for A Bridge to the Stars, The Glass Key Award For Best Nordic Crime Novel: Faceless Killers, Swedish Crime Writers' Academy, Best Swedish Crime Novel Award for Sidetracked, Swedish Astrid Lindgren Prize, Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year: Sidetracked