Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, published in thirty languages with over 3 million copies sold worldwide, and was turned into a 26 part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in The Return (also a number one bestseller) she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In her third novel, The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the extraordinary, 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. It was followed by her much-admired collection of Greece-set short stories, The Last Dance and Other Stories.