JAN MORRIS, transgender British historian and travel writer, Morris was born on this date in Clevedon, Somerset, England, and later educated at Lancing College, West Sussex She is Welsh by heritage and adoption and is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire, and for portraits of cities, notably Oxford, Venice, Trieste and New York City. She has also written about Spanish history and culture.
Born male, James Morris had sex reassignment in Morocco in 1972 and adopted the name Jan. She wrote of her quest for personal identity in her book Conundrum. She has maintained her marriage to Elizabeth Tuckniss since 1949. They had five children, including the poet and musician Twm Morys, but one is now deceased.
Morris served in WWII in British Intelligence and later wrote for The Times. Morris scored a notable scoop in 1953 by accompanying the British expedition which was first to scale Mount Everest. Reporting from Cyprus on the Suez Canal for The Manchester Guardian in 1956, Morris produced the first “irrefutable proof” of collusion between France and Israel in the invasion of Egyptian territory, interviewing French Air Force pilots who confirmed they had been in action in support of Israeli forces.