Who’s the most important writer of Scandinavian crime fiction right now? Henning Mankell? Nesbo? None of the above. Step forward Hans Rosenfeldt. Hans who?

This week sees the launch of Trapdoor, a new imprint publishing translated crime novels, which opens for business with the publication of Sebastian Bergman, which Rosenfeldt co-wrote with Michael Hjorth. You might already have seen the adaptation on BBC4 – which they also wrote – based on their novel starring Rolf Lassgard as the eponymous psychological profiler who, despite his doleful demeanor, all-round shabbiness, raging alcoholism and general existential despair, seems unable to prevent any woman he meets hopping into bed with him. (These things are obviously different in Sweden).

Lassgard was the first actor to play Wallander on the small screen, from 1995 to 2007, although rather confusingly in the last two years his fellow Swedish actor Krister Henriksson also played the role on TV, and when he did Rosenfeldt also wrote the scripts. Rosenfeldt was also the man who came up with the idea for the 20-part TV series The Bridge, which was also screened on British TV earlier this year. According to my extensive researches (well, Wikipedia), it’s his birthday this week – on Friday the 13th.

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Sometimes, you could be forgiven for thinking – as does Howard Jacobson’s leading character in his forthcoming novel Zoo Time – that there are more would-be writers than there are actual readers of books. What all those unpublished writers need more than anything is the kind of extensive support and mentoring – as well as £2,000 in hard cash and a week-long retreat at Cove Park – that Scottish Book Trust can offer to the 11 winners of its New Writers Awards. Applications are open to all Scotland-based writers who haven’t yet published a novel, short story or poetry collection but who are set on a writing career. See for more details.


Fantasy lunch dates, No 946: For Colin Powell, mastermind of the first Gulf War, it’s our own JK Rowling. “I’d probe her imagination and ask how she is dealing so well with her success and multi-millionaire celebrity status,” he tells the New York Times.