Shadows in the Snow

Håkan Nesser

Nordic Noir: Shadows in the Snow

Featuring Håkan Nesser & Francis Hopkinson

If you missed this first book club meeting, you can find photos and podcasts of the talks and discussions from the Horse Hospital further down on this page.

The first meeting of the UCL Nordic Noir Book Club took place on the 3rd of February 2011 at the Bloomsbury Horse Hospital (London WC1N 1JD)

The book club meeting took the shape of an investigation into Swedish crime fiction with speakers including best-selling author Håkan Nesser. We held up a magnifying glass to the landscape of Swedish crime fiction, through recent novels, TV programmes and book covers.

Håkan Nesser is the award-winning, best-selling author of over 20 novels, and is one of Sweden’s most popular crime writers. His most famous character, Inspector Van Veeteren, stalks the streets of a fictional Northern European city called Maardam, his pessimistic outlook a seemingly familiar trait of the ‘Scandinavian mentality’, but Nesser himself is a far remove from this: he lives in London, is frank and friendly, and likes very much to question the stereotypes associated with his place of birth. Members of the book club will read at least one Nesser’s Van Veeteren titles that are available in English: Borkmann’s Point, The Return, The Mind’s Eye or Woman with Birthmark.

UCL Nordic Noir presents Håkan Nesser. Click on the link to listen to an mp3 podcast of Nesser’s talk and the following Q&A with the book club.

UCL Nordic Noir Presents Francis Hopkinson. Click on the link to listen to a live recording of Hopkinson’s talk and discussion recorded live at the Horse Hospital.

Nesser & Hopkinson with organisers of UCL Nordic Noir Nook Club

Francis Hopkinson of Left Bank Pictures joined to discuss the UK adaptation of Henning Mankell’s Wallander, starring Kenneth Brannagh. As executive producer of the series, Hopkinson was a key figure in the decision-making processes behind the programmes. He will share his unique overview of the programmes with us, taking us all the way from the inspiration for the series to the finishing touches, and will join our discussion of imagery of Sweden in crime fiction. Left Bank Pictures is an independent television and film production company founded in July 2007 by Andy Harries, Marigo Kehoe and Francis Hopkinson. Hopkinson’s production credits include a range of high-profile drama series.

Click on the photo to the left for more photos from the event. For more info please visit our website at or email

This event was made possible with the generous support of a UCL Public Engagement Beacon Bursary.


3 responses to “Shadows in the Snow

  1. jakobstougaard

    Nordic Noir: Shadows in the Snow with Håkan Nesser and Francis Hopkinson is officially sold out with 60+ guests attending this exploration into the secrets of Swedish crime. If any of you out there following the blog have tickets for the event, please reply to this post and tell us what you are expecting to get out of the event. And for the rest of you, I will do my best to blog from the event Thursday evening, and to make some high-quality podcasts of the speakers, interviews with our guests, and it should all be followed by pictures from the Horse Hospital as well. Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

  2. jakobstougaard

    Ian sent me these links to a wonderful Swedish radio programme, where Håkan Nesser talks about his travels, his most recent book Heaven above London (Himmel över London), about his relationship to readers, his authorship, about being an author, and something about his crime fiction. Nesser is an amazing speaker for the radio, and you can listen to his “Vinter i P1” talk from 25 December 2010. If some Swedish speakers out there wish to summarize some of the things Nesser says here that might be of itnerest, please do so by replying here.
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    Towards the end, for instance, Nesser talks about how the world press constantly wants him to confirm the fact that the reason why there is so much crime fiction coming out of Sweden is that there is something wrong with Swedish society that the writers all write about. For many, using the crime novel as a mere form to talk about social issues seems like an “upgrade” for writers, but Nesser does not think this is the case. Many other countries have the same socio-economic and cultural challenges as Sweden. For him, it seems, crime fiction is essentially fiction, writing, poetry – no need to “upgrade” it to always be about current socio-political issues.

  3. jakobstougaard has kindly advertised our first event Nordic Noir: Shadows in the Snow which will be followed by an excerpt from Nesser’s most recent book this week.

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