Jan Morris, the Welsh author known for her books about history and travel, has died, the New York Times reports. She was 94.
Morris, a veteran of the British Army, first gained notice in 1953, when she broke the news of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay successfully reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
In 1956, she published her first book, Coast to Coast, about her travels in the United States. She followed that up with several volumes of travel writing, chronicling her voyages in places like Oman, South Africa, Italy, and Spain.
Morris’ gender was assigned male at birth, and in the 1960s, she came out as a transgender woman. She told the story of her transition in the 1974 memoir Conundrum.
Among her best known books were the three volumes of Pax Britannica, her trilogy about the history of the British Empire. Her 1985 science fiction novel, Last Letters From Hav,remains a cult favorite and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Admirers of Morris paid tribute to her on social media over the weekend. “She was one of the most extraordinary, inspiring, kindest people I ever had the luck to meet,” tweeted author Robert Macfarlane.
Oh. I've just learned of Jan Morris's death today, aged 94.— Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) November 20, 2020
She was one of the most extraordinary, inspiring, kindest people I ever had the luck to meet.
Please read her.
Read Trieste, read Conundrum, read Coronation Everest...
This interview with her catches some of her magic. https://t.co/zp75wP1SxY
And historian William Dalrymple wrote, “RIP the great Jan Morris—a lifelong literary inspiration and one of the funniest, liveliest and most wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.