Hislop, Victoria 1960(?)-

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Hislop, Victoria 1960(?)-

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1960, in Kent, England; married: husband's name Ian; children: two. Education: Graduated from St. Hilda's College, University of Oxford; City of London Polytechnic, graduate bilingual secretarial course.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Kent, England. Agent—Rogers, Coleridge, & White, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Freelance writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Newcomer of the Year Award, Galaxy British Book Awards, 2007.

WRITINGS:

The Island, Review (London, England), 2005, Harper-Collins (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of features and travel writing to periodicals including the Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, and Woman & Home.

SIDELIGHTS:

British writer Victoria Hislop was born in Kent, England, and grew up in Tonbridge. After spending twenty years of her adulthood in London, she returned to Kent with her husband, Ian, and their two children. A writer mainly of travel articles and light features, Hislop contributes regularly to several periodicals, including the Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, and Woman & Home. Her first novel, The Island, was published in 2005 in England, with an American edition released in 2007. The book generated a great deal of buzz and went on to hit the bestseller lists and become the second-highest-selling novel in Great Britain for the year of its release.

Hislop first began to develop the idea for The Island during the summer of 2001, when she and her family traveled to Crete on vacation. While perusing her guidebook, she found a minor entry for Spinalonga that caught her attention, as it stated that the island was the site of an abandoned leper colony and that it was only possible to visit by boat. The contrast between the more modern history of the island and the numerous ancient ruins that had formed the backbone of their tourist activities appealed to Hislop, and so they determined to visit. The island itself only continued to encourage her curiosity about the place, to the point that she knew she wanted to write a story with the island as a backdrop.

The Island takes place just prior to World War II and tells the story of the Petrakis family, who live on the mainland within sight of the island of Spinalonga, at that time still an operational leper colony. Each family member has his or her story, but most poignant is that of the mother, Eleni, who ultimately must go and live on Spinalonga, leaving her family behind. Ultimately, reviews for the novel were mixed. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews remarked that "mediocre fiction is redeemed by considerable empathy in this serious but patchy summer read." Marta Segal Block, in a review for Booklist, dubbed Hislop's effort "a romantic page-turner, but a little shallow." In a review for Publishers Weekly, one contributor noted that "though the plot is satisfyingly twisty, the characters play one note apiece," and found the book overall to be "unwieldy." Barbara Love, reviewing for Library Journal, commented that "Spinalonga provides a remarkable backdrop for this affecting, multigenerational saga," and called the book "a deeply pleasurable read."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2007, Marta Segal Block, review of The Island, p. 20.

Bookseller, September 8, 2006, "Prizes Recently Awarded," p. 37.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007, review of The Island. Library Journal, June 15, 2007, Barbara Love, review of The Island, p. 56.

Publishers Weekly, May 7, 2007, review of The Island, p. 43.

ONLINE

BBC Web site,http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (December 8, 2007), author interview.

BookLove,http://booklove.wordpress.com/ (September 14, 2007), review of The Island.

HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (December 8, 2007), author profile.

Illiterarty.com,http://www.illiterarty.com/ (September 26, 2007), review of The Island.

Independent Online,http://student.independent.co.uk/ (April 12, 2007), Jonathan Sale, "Passed/Failed: An Education in the Life of Victoria Hislop, Writer."

Love Readin,http://www.lovereading.co.uk/ (December 8, 2007), author profile.

Observer Online,http://observer.guardian.co.uk/ (June 26, 2005), Louise France, "At Last—a Beach Book with a Heart."

Trashionista,http://trashionista.com/ (December 8, 2007), review of The Island.

Victoria Hislop Home Page,http://www.victoriahislop.com (December 8, 2007).