Historian, author and travel writer Jan Morris dies aged 94

Welsh historian, author and travel writer Jan Morris has passed away aged 94. She had an illustrious career writing about travel, history, and her own experiences of gender reassignment.

She is known particularly for her Pax Britania series on the history of the British Empire, as well as her travel writing which included nineteen books that documented her experiences of travelling to the USA, Oman, Australia, Spain, Hong Kong, South Africa and many other places around the globe.

A prolific writer she published works on travel, history, several autobiographies, fictional novels, short stories and essays. She was awarded a CBE in 1999, which she said she accepted out of politeness, being a staunch Welsh nationalist.

Although she was born in England, Morris always described herself as being Welsh. She served in the British Army in the closing stages of World War II before joining The Times as a correspondent.

She famously covered the first ascent of Mount Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, and later reporting on the Suez Crisis in 1956 for The Manchester Guardian was the first to provide irrefutable proof of collusion between France and Israel in the invasion of Egyptian Territory.

Morris transitioned gender and began living as a woman in 1964. She travelled to Morocco to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1972 because British doctors would not undertake the procedure while she remained married.

The writer married Elizabeth Tuckniss in 1949 and the couple had five children, one of their children died in infancy. The couple did later divorce, but remained together. In 2008 when British laws allowed for Civil Partnerships they reunited.

Morris wrote eight memoirs over her life, Conundrum which was released in 1974 dealt with her gender transition, and was one of the first autobiography to share a personal experience of being transgender. Her most recent memoir Thinking Again was released earlier this year.

She died on 20th November at a hospotal in Pwllheli, Wales. Her passing was announced by her son Twm.

 


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