- David Hurn
Jan Morris is a historian, author and travel writer.
She was born James Humphrey Morris in 1926 and educated at Lancing College Sussex and Oxford University, becoming editor there of the student magazine, Cherwell. She is a former journalist, and spent time as a reporter for both The Times and The Guardian. She was published under the name James Morris until the 1970s, when she became a gender-reassigned woman and went on to publish travel essays, autobiographies and fiction under the name of Jan Morris.
Her trilogy, comprising Heaven's Command (1973); Pax Britannica (1968) and Farewell The Trumpets (1978), charts the rise and fall of the British Empire. She has written portraites of many cities, including Oxford (1965), Venice (1955), Trieste (2002), Hong Kong (1988) and Sydney (1992). A collection of her travel writing and reportage from over 50 years was published as A Writer's World: Travels 1950-2000 in 2003. She has also written an autobiographical book, Conundrum (1974), a gripping account of her 10-year transformation from man to woman which The Times chose as one of '100 key books of our time'. Her biography, Fisher's Face (1995), tells the story of Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Jacky Fisher, naval reformer.
She is also the author of a novel, Last Letters from Hav (1985), shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.
Jan Morris has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Glamorgan, is an Honorary Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was awarded a CBE in 1999.