Victoria Hislop studied English Literature at Oxford University and afterwards worked in book publishing, PR and journalism. During her time as a journalist, she wrote on education and travel for national newspapers and magazines and was sent on assignments around the world.
Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria wrote The Island in 2005. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and the novel became an international bestseller, translated into 40 languages, with over 6 million copies sold worldwide. It was turned into a 26 part Greek TV series which achieved record ratings for Greece.
Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war.
In her third novel, The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the extraordinary and turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the 20th century. Published in 2011 to widespread acclaim, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller and was shortlisted for a British Book Award. The Thread is currently in development with a British TV production company.
The Sunrise, set in Cyprus and published in 2014 (currently optioned for Greek television), was followed by Cartes Postales from Greece, which is her first work of fully colour-illustrated fiction and was also short-listed for the British Book Awards fiction title of the year. It was adapted into a twelve-part drama for ERT1 in 2021.
Those Who Are Loved, published in 2019, tells the story of Greece’s traumatic period of occupation and civil war during the 20th century.
In 2020, came the sequel to The Island, One August Night, which was adapted for Greek state television in 2022.
Victoria’s first book for children, Maria’s Island (listed by Waterstones as one of the best children’s books of the year) was also published in 2020 – and is an adaptation of The Island for a younger audience.
All of Victoria’s novels have hit the number one position in the UK charts, but have also been bestsellers in Greece, China, France, Israel and Norway. She has won several literary awards in France.
As well as studying the Greek language (it is her ultimate ambition to read everything and anything without the presence of a dictionary by her side), she spends her spare time reading, swimming, playing tennis and, these days, dancing (having been a contestant in Greece’s version of “Strictly” in 2021).
She is an ambassador for Lepra, a UK charity that raises money to treat the estimated three million leprosy sufferers worldwide, and is also an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust which promotes reading in the UK. Victoria is Patron of Knossos 2025 which is raising funds to renew the British School of Athens research centre in Crete.
In 2019, Victoria was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Sheffield, and in 2020 she was given Honorary Citizenship by the Greek President for her promotion of Greece.
Her forthcoming novel, The Figurine, is scheduled for publication in the UK on 28 September 2023.