AS soon as I received the notification email that Victoria Hislop was going to speak at the festival, I purchased 10 tickets for my book group.
As it turned out, only nine of us could make it, but as the demand was so great for tickets, I sold the spare one on the night.
There were several people waiting for returns and the Kenton was full to bursting, with not a single spare seat to be had.
As soon as Victoria appeared on stage with interviewer Cindy Burrowes the audience was captivated. Everyone listened attentively while she spoke. She was articulate, entertaining and funny.
She mainly talked about her love of Greece and the inspiration for writing her books.
She told us that she has no family ties in Greece, but has a home there and has been going to the country for more than 30 years.
She has taught herself to speak Greek (no mean feat) and is fascinated by the way of life there, including the customs and traditions, as well as the Greek Orthodox Church.
She brought her talk and her book to life by showing us photographs. She travelled around the remoter parts of Greece, mainly during the winter time, with a Greek photographer and has incorporated these photographs into her latest book, Cartes Postales from Greece.
She said she wanted to bring the reader “some visual images of Greece”, not just the usual ones seen on Google Images!
Her publisher initially struggled with this idea and she had to persevere — the book is therefore retailing at £19.99 and had to be printed outside the UK.
She then went on to talk about her best-known book, The Island. She said it has become a TV series in Greece and that she was involved with the scripts as she wanted the subject dealt with sensitively.
At the end, the audience was invited to ask questions, but in fact there were very few as her talk had been so informative.
We have read two of Victoria’s books in our book group and afterwards I asked everyone to sum up the event and/or Victoria Hislop in one word.
The following nine words say it all: relaxed, inspiring, warm, evocative, humorous, glamorous, charming, becoming, and entertaining.