Jan Morris had an illustrious career as a historian, travel writer, and journalist. Born in 1926, Morris was raised primarily in England, though fully embraced her father’s Welsh roots as her true identity. After serving as a soldier during the last days of the Second World War, her first claim to fame was her coverage of the first Mount Everest expedition in 1953. After this she began to follow what would become a lifelong wanderlust, writing accounts of Trieste, Oxford, New York, Hong Kong, and Venice, among many others. Her method of capturing the essence of a place was not the literal accounts and box-ticking which had preceded her, but a much more imaginative and psychological approach.
A transgender pioneer during the 1970s, Jan Morris once again found herself in the public eye upon publication of her memoir Conundrum detailing the experience of her transition. She went on to find traction in the literary world publishing several more memoirs including Herstory and Pleasures of a Tangled Life, as well as several histories and essay collections. Morris’ legacy lives on as more than a writer, but as an adventurer and a pioneer in more ways than one.
In the latest contribution to our series of essays on Welsh Identity that has come to be known as ‘The Eternal Conversation’, Wales Arts Review is extremely proud to bring you the first in a four-part series of articles from the Institute of Welsh Affairs‘ Click On Wales, by one of our nation’s greatest living writers, author of over thirty books, Jan Morris.
Jan Morris considers how the rumour of Wales plays across the world, and how Welsh identity is perceived from an outside perspective.
Jan Morris bemoans the incursion of modernist materialism that is upsetting her romantic take on Wales.
Jan Morris imagines the country as it might be in a hundred years from now, and factor in how the concept of simplicity can guide the Wales into tomorrow.
Gemma Pearson reviews the latest book by one of Wales’s literary giants, the second of Jan Morris’s diaries, Thinking Again.
In a major celebration of the life and works of one of Britain’s great literary figures, Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw hosted a collection of tributes to Jan Morris in her 90th year. Here Wales Arts Review is proud to present a panoply of the work that was created for the exhibition, including essays by the artists and an exclusive introduction by the exhibition’s curator, Iwan Bala.
Wales Arts Review is saddened to hear of the passing of Jan Morris, a writer whose work always captured the heart of Wales and embodied a spirit of hope for her home country.
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