Stieg Larsson was a Swedish writer and journalist who was born in Vasterbotten in northern Sweden in 1954.
He was brought up by his grandparents in the countryside near Norsjo, a small community about 100km north of Umea.
Prior a sudden heart attack which caused his death at the very young age of 50 he was active in the fight against racism. He helped start the 'Stop the Racism' anti-violence project in the 1980s, and formed the Expo-foundation in 1995. The Expo-foundation, and the magazine Expo of which Larsson became chief editor, were dedicated to studying and mapping anti-democratic and right wing extremist and racist tendencies in society.
Stieg Larsson was also interested in science fiction and was chairman of the Scandinavian science fiction society. He regarded the Millennium trilogy as his 'pension insurance' but surely could never have predicted the tremendous success it has achieved.
He has won the Basta Svenska Kriminalroman in 2006 for Flickan som lekte med elden [The Girl who Played with Fire due for publication in English in January 2009]. Previous winners have included Henning Mankell, Hakan Nesser, and Kjell Eriksson.
He has also won the Glasnyckeln, the Nordic Glass Key Award, in 2006 for Man Som Hatar Kvinor given the softer English title of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It seems that he may have won the Glass Key for 2008 as well with the third novel in the trilogy Luftslottet Som Sprandes [Castles in the Sky the provisional title and due for publication in English in January 2010].
Previous winners of the Glass Key have included Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, Jo Nesbo, Hakan Nesser and Arnaldur Indridason so Stieg Larsson's books are in excellent company.
Much of this information was obtained from the Stieg Larsson website here but a friendly warning if you visit the website.
The books are to be made into a movie series and there are photographs of the actors who are to play the lead parts of Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander on the website. The actress scheduled to play Lisbeth is too old, too tall, too well built, too beautiful and not nearly as vulnerable as the character was described in the book. I have had to expunge this photograph from my memory cells as I continue to read the book.
I am over half way through The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and a review will follow some time next week.