Left-wing activism and anti-war protests

After finishing school and his military service, Stieg Larsson worked a couple of years at a post office. During these years in the mid-seventies, he was an active member of the Swedish left-wing movement which flourished during these years. He edited a Trotskyite magazine, and he took a great interest in the ongoing war in Vietnam.

Private mapping of extremists

1977, Stieg Larsson started working as a graphic designer at TT, a multimedia news provider in Sweden, a job he kept for the following 22 years. As the seventies passed, Stieg Larssons interest gradually turned more towards right-wing extremism, an interest which had started with a school project on the subject and then continued to inspire him for the rest of his life. When he was not at his work at TT, he worked on a private mapping of right-wing extremism in Sweden. In 1991, his research resulted in his first book Right-wing extremism (Extremhogern) which he wrote in cooperation with Anna-Lena Lodenius, a Swedish writer specialized in autonomous and national extremist groups. In an interview she says that he had plans on writing a series of detective novels already back in the early 1990s, but it would take another ten years for him to start writing fiction.

The Expo foundation


As a response to the book “Right-wing extremism”, a neo-Nazi newspaper published an article in 1993. In the article, both Larsson and Lodenius were presented with their pictures, addresses and telephone numbers, and the finishing lines raised the question whether “he should be allowed to continue his work, or if something should be done”. The publisher of the newspaper was condemned to 4 months of imprisonment. However, this episode did not scare Stieg Larsson, instead it convinced him to step up his struggle. Stieg Larsson had since the early 80’s worked as a Scandinavian correspondent for the British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, and in 1995 he was the main force behind the founding of the similar Swedish magazine Expo in 1995. For two years, he combined the two full time jobs before he finally quit TT in 1997 to put all his effort into Expo. From 1999 to his death, he was the chief editor of the magazine.

A classic workaholic

When you look at the combination of working at Expo with writing books on right-wing extremism, holding lectures for international politicians, police forces and numberless youths, writing his detective novels at night, smoking 60 or more hand-rolled cigarettes a day and skipping most meals, the picture of a classic workaholic appears. In an article in the Swedish newspaper Expressen, the journalist, co-worker and close friend of Stieg’s, Kurdo Baksi verifies this, “He used to come home at four-five in the morning. At that time had he also worked on his story about Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. “It will be better next year”, he (Stieg) said brightly.

By Editor

92 thoughts on “Work”
  1. I throughly enjoyed the 3 books and would have looked forward to reading more of Stieg’s works should he have lived. May I ask what was the cause of his death?

    David Moore Moffat Beach Australia,

  2. What else did Stieg write apart from “The Girl” Books , I tremendously enjoyed his writing style and would like to read more of his work (in English)

    Andre Hattingh,

  3. i have just finished all three books. i have published 1 small book and know how hard it is to get the story onto paper. so his epic work should be honoured and admired by all.

    please let there be a forth. Go EVA! Do it for Steig and Lisbeth

    paul gordon, sydney,

  4. I have just finished all three books.

    Go EVA! Do it for Steig and Lisbeth ! !! !!!

    CarAmba from Poland,

  5. These are the most fantastic books. Steig was absolutely brilliant! I couldn’t wait until May, so I got the 3rd book from England. I certainly hope that there is a 4th book, and that Eva will complete it and get the financial rewards. Legal issues always present problems, no matter what country you live in. In addition, the translator, Reg Keeland, has done a terrific job…since I can’t read Swedish, I can’t imagine these books any better than they are! I couldn’t put these books down!

    Karen Adler, New Jersey, USA,

  6. What a thoroughly decent, moral and ethical person Steig cpmes across as in his brillaintly written books. I hope journalists everywhere read these books and follow Mikael’s example.

    J Borton Australia,

  7. Without doubt they, the Millenium Triology, are amongst the best books I have the pleasure to read.

    They are the equal of “The Wallander Series’ by Henning Mankell

    Ross Australia,

  8. Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson’s heroine, is a truly remarkable character. The novels are worthy of their worldwide acclaim. Mr Larsson is capable of weaving exciting narrative, even when he has not yet immersed us in the fast pace, breathtaking action, which is sure to follow. Very seldom are novels such a sure promise for immense enjoyment. I say read them all!!

    Alfonso Ruiz-Fernandez,

  9. just a thought, maybe the books aren’t fiction. maybe there was no other way to present the material. it all looks like a puzzle within a puzzle – make a list, look for yourself. Stieg Larsson was a man of many talents – these books betray only the tip of his iceberg of skills. he is missed.


  10. Here’s to all who fight against right-wing violent extremists. May they live forever in some form. Helping to remove that burden from victim and perpetrator, and writing great crime novels, is quite a resume. He is missed.

    Kara Kern,

  11. A fascinating, commendable life! It’s interesting how his imagination produced Lisbeth Salander’s cryptic morality, as an antidote to what he witnessed and researched in his times. His novels far exceed my expectations and I found myself reflecting in my blog on how I strangely identify with Salander’s journey….

    Ex Lit Prof (www.the-reading-list.com),

  12. probably one of the most engaging writers ive come across in years . have two out of the trilogy finished . and im sure third time will be the charm

    Dave . R. Battersy,

  13. I am a 64 year old man, fairly well educated and a voracious reader. In all my years I have rarely been so enthralled with the writing of one particular author. My favorites have been Truman Capote for “In Cold Blood” the first book that kept me up all night and missing classes in college. I could not put that down. “The Source” by James Michener, “Trinity” and others by Leon Uris, “Gone With the Wind”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and only a few others did that. I first saw the Swedish movie of “…Dragon Tattoo.” Next the sequel, “…Played With Fire” and then while traveling in Europe, I bought “—Hornet’s Nest” which I read in 2 days. I bought the trilogy in hard back and just finished “Dragon Tattoo” in record time adoring the style, depth of character, enormity of the plotline and more. I have just begun reading “…Played with Fire” and cannot wait for the American version of the first book and whatever version of the last. I LOVE this guy’s writing. What a loss to the world of an outstanding story teller.

    Bruce W. Adams,

    1. I have just discovered Stieg Larson and read all 3 books twice within 10 days. The first reading gave me the storylines and I needed to get over the shocks constantly introduced throughout. The second reading allowed me to REALLY read the books. I have read all the books you stated above (I am a few years younger than you) and I think these 3 books will stand out alongside many of the great classics – even though they are “just” crime novels. It holds its own against the great revenge novel – Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo”. The tragedy for me (and I am sure for Larson and his other fans) is – THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER BOOK!! I cannot go to the bookshop in hope of seeing another release on the shelf. Furthermore – if Larson was even a fraction of the Blomkwist character I would definitely be in love with him.

      – DB Marquis (South Africa),

  14. Things that stand out about Stieg Larsson:

    1. He could really stick with things. His love with his lifelong companion, his expertise with anti-Nazism, his dedication to writing–all began in his youth and continued unabated for his entire life.

    2. The man was a tireless worker.

    3. He was a truly good human being.

    4. His ceaseless work did and did not reward him in his own lifetime–but his legacy is truly a worldwide gift to everyone else.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Larsson. You are missed

    D C W,

  15. Stieg Larsson, how much I regret that such an outstanding author had still so much tp write and give to this world. Thank you for writing about women and about so much that the world has often ignored.


    1. Agreed. In the Larsson trilagy, the female charactors’ insights continually drive the narrative. He was a true feminist.

      – Marci Morrison,

    1. Since he smoked 60 hand rolled cigarettes a day and rarely ate, have to assume he died of lung cancer.

      – Robbie,

    2. he had very poor health and he died of a major heart attack while constantly climbing up the stairs at work because the elevator there was broken.

      – Auden,



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