Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm, Sweden on February 3, 1948. After his mother left, he was raised by his father who encouraged his children to read. He left secondary school at the age of 16 due to boredom and worked as a merchant seaman. While working as a stagehand, he wrote his first play, The Amusement Park. In 1972, his first novel, The Stone Blaster, was released. His other works include The Prison Colony that Disappeared, Daisy Sisters, The Eye of the Leopard, Secrets in the Fire, The Chronicler of the Wind, and Depths. He also writes the Kurt Wallander series and the Joel Gustafson Stories series. A Bridge to the Stars won the prestigious Rabï¿½n and Sjï¿½gren award for best children's book of the year. He divides his time between writing novels and directing plays at various theatres. He is also committed to the fight against AIDS and devotes much of his spare time to his "memory books" project, where parents dying from AIDS are encouraged to record their life stories in words and pictures. In 2003, he published I Die, But My Memory Lives On.