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May 2009 was all about travel, and a large and appreciative audience welcomed one of the world’s great travel writers, Jan Morris, on 26 May.  Jan read from a selection of short, quirky and often surprising pieces inspired by her visits to almost every country in the world; she has been recording her take on what she has experienced on her travels, from an early 1950s ascent of Everest to a post-9/11 New York.

Jan Morris
Jan Morris at the Year of the Constant Reader event in the Central Library

Jan Morris was born in Somerset, England, in 1926, fought in the Second World War, in Italy, Egypt and Palestine.  Jan then attended Christ Church, Oxford, where, as James Morris, she edited the college magazine, Cherwell.  Her early books include The Market of Seleukia (1957) and the Pax Britannica trilogy. (1968-78). After she completed her sexual transition from male to female, written about in Conundrum (1974), she continued to write beautifully crafted work such as Hong Kong: Xianggang (1988), Pleasures of a Tangled Life (1989), O Canada! (1992) and the book that she claimed would be her last: Trieste and the meaning of nowhere (2001). But recent years have proved too creative and in 2006 she published two books Europe: an intimate journey and a work of fiction, Hav.