|Born||James Humphry Morris :4|
2 October 1926
Clevedon, Somerset, England
|Died||20 November 2020 94) (aged|
|Genre||Non-fiction, travel writing|
Jan Morris –20 November 2020) was a Welsh historian, author and travel writer. She was known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy (1968–1978), a history of the British Empire, and for portraits of cities, including Oxford, Venice, Trieste, Hong Kong, and New York City. She published under her birth name, James, until 1972, when she had gender reassignment surgery after transitioning from male to female.(born James Humphry Morris; 2 October 1926
As James Morris, she was a member of the 1953 British Mount Everest expedition, which made the first ascent of the mountain.She was the only journalist to accompany the expedition, climbing with the team to a camp at 22,000 feet on the mountain and famously having the successful ascent announced in The Times on 2 June 1953, the day of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.
Born in Clevedon, Somerset, England, to an English mother and Welsh father, Morris was a chorister in the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, while boarding at Christ Church Cathedral School.Morris then went on to be educated at Lancing College, returning to Christ Church, Oxford, as an undergraduate. Despite being born and largely raised in England, Morris always identified as Welsh. 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 British–American occupation.
After the war Morris wrote for The Times , and in 1953 was its correspondent accompanying Edmund Hillary, whose expedition was the first to scale Mount Everest. Morris reported the success of Tenzing Norgay and Hillary in a coded message to the newspaper, "Snow conditions bad stop advanced base abandoned yesterday stop awaiting improvement",and by happy coincidence the scoop was published in The Times on the morning of the coronation of Elizabeth II. The message was initially interpreted to mean that Tom Bourdillon and Tenzing had reached the summit, but the first name was corrected before the story was broken. Claims that the news was held back ignore the communication problems of the time; it was quite an achievement to get the news to London by Coronation Day, as it had to be sent to Namche Bazaar by runner.
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.Morris reported on the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann. Later Morris opposed the Falklands War.
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. They lived together in the village of Llanystumdwy, in North Wales, for over 50 years until Morris' death in November 2020, first at her ancestral home Plas Trefan, and latterly in a converted stable block, Trefan Morys, in the grounds.
Morris began transitioning to life as a woman in 1964, one of the first high-profile people to do so. 105 In 1972, Morris travelled to Morocco to undergo sex reassignment surgery, performed by surgeon Georges Burou, :135–144 because doctors in Britain refused to allow the procedure unless Morris and Tuckniss divorced, something Morris was not prepared to do at the time. :127 They divorced later, but remained together and on 14 May 2008 were legally reunited when they formally entered into a civil partnership. After James became Jan, she detailed her transition in Conundrum (1974), her first book under her new name, and one of the first autobiographies to discuss a personal gender reassignment.:
Morris died on 20 November 2020 at Ysbyty Bryn Beryl (Bryn Beryl Hospital) in Pwllheli in North Wales, at the age of 94.Her death was announced by her son Twm.
Morris received honorary doctorates from the University of Wales and the University of Glamorgan, was an honorary fellow of Christ Church, Oxford, and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She received the Glyndŵr Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales in 1996.She accepted her CBE in the 1999 Birthday Honours "out of polite respect", but Morris was a Welsh nationalist republican at heart. In 2005, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for "a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature". In January 2008, The Times named her the 15th greatest British writer since the War. She has featured in the Pinc List of leading Welsh LGBT figures. She won the 2018 Edward Stanford Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing Award.
In an interview with BBC in 2016 she told Michael Palin that she does not like to be described as a travel writer, as her books are not about movement and journeys; they are about places and people.
Morris' 1974 best-selling memoir Conundrum documented her transition and was compared to that of transgender pioneer Christine Jorgensen (A Personal Autobiography). Later memoirs included Herstory and Pleasures of a Tangled Life. She also wrote many essays on travel and her life and published a collection of her diary entries as In My Mind's Eye in 2019.
Morris wrote many books on travel particularly to Venice and Trieste. Her Pax Britannica trilogy, on the history of the British Empire, received praise.Morris' 1985 novel Last Letters from Hav , an "imagined travelogue and political thriller" was shortlisted for that year's Booker Prize. A second volume of diary entries is due to be published in January 2021. Allegorizings, a book of personal reflections written in and before the 2000s and that she stipulated not be published in her lifetime, is also due to be issued in 2021.
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Events from the year 2020 in Wales.
This is a list of the literary works by British writer and historian Jan Morris (1926–2020).
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