Jan Guillou is a Swedish author and journalist, born in Södertälje, Sweden to a French father and a mother of Norwegian descent. Guillou became famous following his role in the exposure of a secret intelligence organization (known as the IB affair) in 1973. In connection to this he was convicted of espionage and sentenced to ten months in prison. Today he is an influential independent commentator of current events, particularly the conflicts in the Middle East.
Guillou’s first book, “Om kriget kommer”, was first published in 1971. As an author he is most famous for his books about Count Carl Hamilton, a fictional spy. The first novel about the Count came in 1986. Hamilton was originally drafted and trained to become an attack diver, then he was taken out for training in California to become a U.S. Navy SEAL. Notably, he has a leftist background and was dubbed Coq Rouge by one of his superiors while he was temporarily in the security police (Säkerhetspolisen). The first Coq Rouge novel was followed by eleven more books.
After the Coq Rouge series, Guillou wrote a trilogy about Arn Magnusson, a fictional Swedish character from the Middle Ages, forced to become a Knight Templar. Guillou has also written an autobiographical book about his school years, “Ondskan” (1981), which also became the film “Evil” in 2003. It was nominated for an Academy Award that same year.
Guillou has had an extensive career in television, serving as host of several programs. He also co-authored the crime/drama TV-series “Talismanen”, 2003.
During the 1960’s and early 1970’s, Guillou was associated with the Maoist Clarté association, and was a member of the Communist Party of Sweden.
Today, he describes himself as a socialist. Guillou is known for his strong support of the Palestinians, and he has consistently criticized Israel in harsh terms. Ever since the IB affair and the resulting prison sentence, he has been a strong critic of the Swedish Security Service. According to Guillou, the Security Service has listed him as a terrorist, something which has led to some problems with security officials when visiting other countries.

“Slaget träffade högt upp på höger kindben. Det var precis det han avsett när han vred huvudet några centimeter snett uppåt just som farsan slog.” (from “Ondskan”)