David Lagercrantz is the son of Olof Lagercrantz, a Swedish author and literary critic, and Martina Lagercrantz. Growing up in Solna and Drottningholm near Stockholm, he was hugely keen on sport: his proudest achievement was beating the future world champion Jan-Olof Waldner at table tennis. (Waldner was three years younger and about two heads shorter, so this is not quite as impressive as it may sound.)
David studied philosophy and religion and attended the School of Journalism in Gothenburg. After his studies he applied for hundreds of jobs – without success. Eventually he made it to Expressen, a national daily paper, where he covered some major crime stories including an infamous triple murder in the cemetery in the northern Swedish town of Åmsele in 1988, which he would later write about in his book Änglarna i Åmsele [‘The Angels of Åmsele’].
David made his debut as an author in 1997 with Ultimate High, the story of Swedish adventurer Göran Kropp, who climbed Mount Everest without oxygen tanks or sherpas the week after one of the most tragic disasters ever to occur on the mountain. The book became a great success, both in Sweden and abroad, and enabled David to continue as an author.
Three years later Ett svenskt geni [‘A Swedish Genius’], David’s biography of inventor Håkan Lans, was published. It has since been reprinted several times and provided inspiration for the critically acclaimed documentary film Patent 986.
In 2005 David returned his attention to the Himalayas with a thriller entitled Himmel över Everest [‘The Sky over Everest’].
He continued with Fall of Man in Wilmslow, a historical novel about the English mathematician and computing pioneer Alan Turing. This book is often regarded as David’s breakthrough in fiction. It received excellent reviews and has been sold to publishers in fifteen countries, including Knopf in the USA.
David often writes about major talents who refuse to follow convention. He is interested not only in what it takes to stand out from the crowd, but also in the resistance that such creativity and iconoclasm inevitably attract.
I am Zlatan Ibrahimović, written by David in collaboration with the Swedish football star, was published in 2011. This revealing memoir is probably the most successful book in Sweden in modern times. It sold 500,000 copies in hardback in less than two months. Reviewers hailed it as both a masterpiece and a future classic.
I am Zlatan has encouraged a new generation to read – one that had previously not been addressed by the publishing market. David regards that as one of the finest things ever to have happened to him.
To date, I am Zlatan has been published in over 30 languages around the world. Millions of copies have been sold in all. Ian Herbert of The Independent in the UK described it as ‘the most compelling autobiography football has known’.
I am Zlatan was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, the most highly esteemed award for sports writing.
In Sweden it was the first book of its kind to be nominated for the prestigious August Prize, a literary award named after August Strindberg.
In December 2013 David Lagercrantz signed a contract with the Swedish publishing house Norstedts and Moggliden AB, the company that oversees Stieg Larsson’s literary estate, to write a new instalment in Larsson’s Millennium crime fiction series featuring Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.
David’s book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, is the fourth in the series. It will be translated into 46 languages and was launched simultaneously in 27 countries in late August 2015.
It raced to the top of the bestseller lists all over the world, including in the USA, the UK, Spain, France, Italy and Germany, and was praised in reviews in publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, the Guardian, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK), Der Spiegel, Stern and Le Monde.
David is a board member of Swedish PEN, an organisation that campaigns on behalf of persecuted writers all over the world.
He is also a supporter of The Reading Movement, a Swedish association that promotes reading and access to high-quality books for children as ways of improving their vocabulary and educational success.
David has three children and is married to Anne Lagercrantz, head of news and sport at Sveriges Television (SVT), Sweden’s public service broadcaster. He lives in the Södermalm neighbourhood of Stockholm.