Victoria Hislop, the bestselling author of “The Island” and one of the world’s favorite authors who writes about Greece, was awarded honorary Greek citizenship on Tuesday.
Hislop, who had previously expressed her desire to obtain Greek citizenship, was honored by presidential decree published in the Government Gazette for the worldwide promotion of the Spinalonga monument and the promotion of modern Greek history and culture.
Born in London, Hislop was raised in Tonbridge, Kent. She studied English at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford and worked in publishing and as a journalist before becoming an author.
Her novel The Island (2005) was a number one bestseller in Britain, its success in part the result of having been selected by the Richard & Judy Book Club for their 2006 Summer Reads. “To Nisi” (The Island) was filmed as a TV series by the Greek TV channel MEGA.
Following on from the success of The Island, “The Sunrise” and “Cartes Postales” from Greece followed. Her latest novel, “Those Who Are Loved,” is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece in World War II, and the subsequent civil war and military dictatorship.
The novel sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves an epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.
In a recent interview, Hislop spoke of her strong bonds with Greece. “I have a very strong connection with Greece. Nobody knows where it comes from, least of all me. Many people in Greece think I must have Greek roots, but I haven’t found them. It’s just a deep feeling of belonging here.”
“Greece, first and foremost, has a beauty that’s unlike anywhere else,” Hislop told
“I have traveled to every continent in the world, but there is nowhere else that has the aesthetics of Greece. The sky here has a unique translucence, the sea is especially blue, the stars are brighter and the landscape is dramatic, particularly on Crete where I have my house,” she added.
Hislop is the latest prominent international figure to be awarded Greek citizenship. In December of 2019, the then-President of the Hellenic Republic signed the official papers marking the honorary naturalization of the famous American actor and philhellene, Tom Hanks.