Travel writer Jan Morris dies aged 94

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

Travel writer Jan Morris has died at the age of 94.

The author had dozens of books published throughout her illustrious career including her famous trilogy Pax Britannica on the British Empire.

She also had a successful career in journalism and she reportedly broke the story about the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.

A statement from her agent said: “This morning at 11.40 at Ysbyty Bryn Beryl near Pwllheli in Llŷn, Wales, Jan Morris, author and traveller, set off on her greatest journey.

“She leaves behind her partner of seventy years, Elizabeth, and their four children.”

Morris, who was made a CBE in 1999, was born James Morris and transitioned from a man to a woman in 1972.

Her book Conundrum, published two years later, reflected on her experience of her gender reassignment.

She also wrote fiction, including her novel Hav, which was published in 2006.

The book was formed partly of an earlier work she had published in 1985, titled Last Letters From Hav, which had made it onto the Booker Prize shortlist.

Manhattan ’45, her account of post war New York, and Venice, a travel book a about the Italian city which was published in 1960, were also among her successful works.

Morris, who was born in Somerset to an English mother and a Welsh father, also served in the army towards the end of the Second World War.

She went on to study English at Oxford University.

Morris’ publisher Faber Books paid tribute to her in a statement.

“A trailblazer and an extraordinary life force, her wonderful, generous books opened up the world for so many people.

“We are honoured to have been her publisher for over 60 years.”

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford also shared a message about the writer.

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Jan Morris,” he tweeted.

“Such an incredibly talented author and what an amazing life she had.

“She was a real treasure to Wales. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.”

Author Kate Mosse labelled Morris an “extraordinary woman”.