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Jan Morris CBE (born on 2 October 1926 in Clevedon, Somerset, England) is a British historian, author and travel writer. She is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, and for portraits of cities, notably Oxford, Venice, Trieste, Hong Kong, and New York City, and has also written about Wales, Spanish history and culture. With an English mother and Welsh father, Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but now considers herself Welsh. A gender re-assigned woman, she was published under her former name, "James Morris" until the 1970s.

Contents

Career

Morris served in World War II in the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers, and later wrote for The Times. As a correspondent for The Times, Morris scored a notable scoop in 1953 when accompanying the British expedition which was first to scale Mount Everest. Morris 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]

Personal life

Morris was assigned male at birth, and before circa-1970 was known as "James Morris". In 1949, as James, Morris married Elizabeth Tuckniss, the daughter of a tea planter. Morris and Tuckniss had five children together, including the poet and musician Twm Morys. One of their children died in infancy. As Morris documented in her memoir Conundrum, she began medical transition in 1964. In 1972, she had sex reassignment surgery in Morocco. Sex reassignment surgeon Georges Burou did the surgery, since doctors in Britain refused to allow the procedure unless Morris and Tuckniss divorced, something Morris was not prepared to do at the time.[3] They divorced later, but remained together and on 14 May 2008 were legally reunited when they formally entered into a Civil Partnership.[4] Morris lives mostly in Wales, the land of her father.

Awards

She 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.[5] In January 2008 The Times named her the 15th greatest British writer since the War.[4]

Partial bibliography

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Non-fiction

Travel

  • Coast to Coast (published in the U.S. as As I Saw the U.S.A) (1956: winner of the 1957 Cafe Royal Prize)
  • Sultan in Oman (1957)
  • The Market in Seleukia (1957)
  • South African Winter (1958)
  • The Hashemite Kings (1959)
  • Venice (1960: winner of the 1961 Heinemann Award)
  • The Presence of Spain (1964)
  • Oxford (1965)
  • The Venetian Empire (1980)
  • A Venetian Bestiary (1982)
  • The Matter of Wales (1984)
  • Hong Kong (1988)
  • Sydney (1992)
  • The World: Life and Travel 1950-2000 (2003)
  • Contact! A Book of Encounters (2010)

Essays

  • The Road to Huddersfield: A Journey to Five Continents (1963)
  • The Outriders: A Liberal View of Britain (1963)
  • Cities (1963)
  • Places (1972)
  • Travels (1976)
  • Destinations (1980)
  • Wales; The First Place (1982, reprinted 1998)
  • Journeys (1984)
  • Among the Cities (1985)
  • Locations (1992)
  • O Canada! (1992)
  • Contact! A Book of Glimpses (2009)

Other

  • Coronation Everest (1958)
  • Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress (1973)
  • Pax Britannica: The Climax of Empire (1968)
  • The Pax Britannica Trilogy: Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat (1978)

Biography

  • Fisher's Face (1995)

Memoir

  • Conundrum (1974)
  • Wales, The First Place (1982)
  • Pleasures of a Tangled Life (1989)
  • Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere (2001)
  • A Writer's House in Wales (2002)
  • "Herstory" (1999)

Fiction

Novels

Short stories

  • The Upstairs Donkey, and Other Stolen Stories (1961)

Miscellaneous (publisher's dates not checked)

  • Manhattan '45
  • Fifty Years of Europe: An Album
  • The Oxford Book of Oxford (editor)
  • The Matter of Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country
  • Lincoln: A Foreigner's Quest
  • Our First Leader

References

External links


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