Victoria Hislop, the renowned author of bestsellers including “The Island”, “Those Who Are Loved”, "The Return" and "Cartes Postales from Greece," can now officially consider herself a Greek.
Greece’s President, Katerini Sakellaropoulou has signed an honorary naturalisation order, allowing the 61-year-old novelist to claim Greek citizenship.
"I visited Greece for the first time when I was 17, and it was love at first sight. I had only left the UK once before, so the bright Aegean light and the heat from the sun seemed magical.From that year onwards, I visited every year, and now, under normal circumstances, I spend a few months a year there researching, writing and travelling. And, of course, swimming, eating and spending time with friends, too," she told DailyMail earlier this year.
Hislop, who has a holiday house in Crete where she spends several months a year, was granted Greek citizenship for promoting modern Greek history and culture, including the history of the tiny island of Spinalonga, off the coast of Crete, the last leper colony in Europe. Spinalonga served as the setting for her 2005 historical novel “The Island.”
The writer has repeatedly expressed her love and admiration for Greece. "All my writing is inspired by Greece. It seems to provide an endless source of ideas for me, largely from 20th century history," she continued.
Under Greek law, honorary naturalisation may be granted to people “who have provided exceptional services to the country or whose naturalisation serves the public interest.”
The decree was published in the Greek government gazette.