It was a weekend of tributes to Jan Morris, consummate conjuror of time and place, who died on Friday at the age of 94. Her son, Twm, announced her death: “This morning at 11.40 at Ysbyty Bryn Beryl, on the Llyn, the author and traveller Jan Morris began her greatest journey. She leaves behind on the shore her lifelong partner, Elizabeth,” he wrote.
Among those celebrating Morris’s life and work were Chris Moss for The Daily Telegraph and the New Welsh Review, Tom Robbins for the Financial Times and Tim Adams in The Observer, who interviewed Morris in February.
Archive pieces newly available online include an in-depth interview first published in The Paris Review in 1997. I’ve also chanced upon a Q&A session Morris had with a book group convened by The Guardian in 2015; the book under discussion was one of my favourites of hers: Venice. I’d also highly recommend a piece from the South China Morning Post by Fionnuala McHugh, who interviewed Morris in Hong Kong in 2001, at the time of the publication of Trieste And The Meaning Of Nowhere.
Some years ago, I asked Morris to contribute to a series, “Companion Volume”, in which writers nominated a favourite travel book. She chose Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1763).
Morris may have embarked on her own “greatest journey”, but we will be hearing from her again soon. She told those Guardian readers in 2015 that a final book, Allegorizings, a work of personal reflections, would go to press “the minute I kick the bucket”. She added that the book was “loosely governed by my growing conviction that almost nothing in life is only what it seems. It contains nothing revelatory at all.”