Jan Morris

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Jan Morris
Born(1926-22-02) 2 October 1926 (age 87)
Clevedon, Somerset, England
OccupationTravel writer
GenresNon-fiction, travel writing

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Jan Morris
Born(1926-22-02) 2 October 1926 (age 87)
Clevedon, Somerset, England
OccupationTravel writer
GenresNon-fiction, travel writing


Jan Morris, CBE (born James Humphrey Morris, 2 October 1926) is a Welsh historian, author and travel writer. She is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy (1968-78), a history of the British Empire, and for portraits of cities, notably Oxford, Venice, Trieste, Hong Kong, and New York City.

Born in England of an English mother and Welsh father, Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, and considers herself Welsh. She is a transsexual woman and was published under her birth name until 1972, when she transitioned from living as male to living as female.


In the closing stages of the Second World War Morris served in the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers, and in 1945 was posted to the Free Territory of Trieste, during the joint Anglo-American occupation.

After the war Morris wrote for The Times, and in 1953 was its correspondent accompanying the British Mount Everest Expedition, which in the event was the first to scale Mount Everest. He reported the success of Hillary and Tenzing in a coded message to the newspaper, "Snow conditions bad stop advanced base abandoned yesterday stop awaiting improvement", and by happy coincidence the news was released on the morning of Queen Elizabeth's coronation.[1]

Reporting from Cyprus on the Suez Crisis for The Manchester Guardian in 1956, Morris produced the first "irrefutable proof" of collusion between France and Israel in the invasion of Egyptian territory, interviewing French Air Force pilots who confirmed that they had been in action in support of Israeli forces.[2]

Morris opposed the Falklands War. [3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1949, Morris married Elizabeth Tuckniss, the daughter of a tea planter; they had five children together, including the poet and musician Twm Morys. One of their children died in infancy.

Morris began medical transition in 1964.[4] In 1972, Morris travelled to Morocco to undergo sex reassignment surgery, performed by surgeon Georges Burou, because doctors in Britain refused to allow the procedure unless Morris and Tuckniss divorced, something Morris was not prepared to do at the time.[4] They divorced later, but remained together and on 14 May 2008 were legally reunited when they formally entered into a civil partnership.[5] Morris lives mostly in Wales, the land of her father.


Morris has received honorary doctorates from the University of Wales and the University of Glamorgan, is an honorary fellow of Christ Church Oxford and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She received the Glyndŵr Award in 1996.[citation needed]

She accepted her CBE in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours "out of polite respect", but is a Welsh nationalist republican at heart.[6] In 2005, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for "a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature".[7][8] In January 2008, The Times named her the 15th greatest British writer since the War.[5]

Partial bibliography[edit]










Short stories[edit]

Miscellaneous (publisher's dates not checked)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Venables, Stephen (2003). To the top: the story of Everest. London: Walker Books. p. 63. ISBN 0-7445-8662-3. 
  2. ^ Rusbridger, Alan (10 July 2006). "Courage Under Fire". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "Authors Take Sides on the Falklands (Review)", W. L. Webb, The Guardian Weekly, August 29th, (p.21).
  4. ^ a b Morris, Jan (2006). Conundrum. New York Review of Books. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-59017-189-9. 
  5. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (4 June 2008). "Love story: Jan Morris - Divorce, the death of a child and a sex change... but still together". The Independent. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Frost, Caroline. "Jan Morris:A Profile". BBC Four website. 
  7. ^ "Golden Pen Award, official website". English PEN. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Gillian Fenwick (2008). "Chronology". Traveling Genius: The Writing Life of Jan Morris. Univ of South Carolina Press. p. XX. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 

External links[edit]