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LIVE from the NYPL: Around the World in 50 Years: Jan Morris, Travel Writer Extraordinaire, in conversation with Paul Holdengräber

April 13, 2007

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The Richard B. Salomon Distinguished Lectures* & LIVE from the NYPL present:


To celebrate the 80th birthday of Jan Morris, one of the greatest travel writers and essayist, Paul Holdengräber will conversationally ramble with the writer through some of the matters that have preoccupied her during a long life. For example:

  • Patriotism
  • The Practice of Travel
  • Dislike of Concerts
  • Norwegian Forest Cats
  • The British Empire
  • The Superiority of Small Countries (Notably Wales)
  • Journalism at Mount Everest
  • Marmalade vs Grape Jelly
  • Venice vs Trieste
  • Connoisseurship (ugh!)
  • Intellectualism (yuk!)
  • Death, Glories and Agonies of Family Life
  • The Power of Kindness
  • 57 Years of a Curious Friendship
  • 53 Years of Visiting NY

And anything else that comes into their minds.

About Jan Morris

Jan Morris was born in 1926 to a Welsh father and an English mother, and lived and wrote in the persona of James Morris before completing a change of sexual role in 1972. She gave the world a famous account of this change of identity in her book, Conundrum. After four years in the British Army, and a degree course at Oxford, she spent five years as a foreign correspondent for the London Times, and five years more for the old Manchester Guardian, before leaving journalism for the writing of books. Morris scored a notable scoop in 1953 by accompanying the British expedition which was the first to scale Mount Everest.

She has published some 40 works of history, travel, autobiography and fiction, among them, Manhattan 45, Pleasures of a Tangled Life, Hong Kong, Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere, A Writer's House in Wales, The Matter of Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country, Spain, Oxford, The World: Life & Travel 1950-2000, Pax Britannica Trilogy, The World of Venice, Last Letters from Hav, and Coast to Coast: A Journey Across 1950's America.

She accepted her Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours, out of polite respect. She lives in Wales with her lifelong friend Elizabeth, in close touch with their four children and seven grandchildren. Jan Morris has taken a great interest in Welsh culture, becoming a member of the Eisteddfod bardic Orseed.

About Paul Holdengräber

Paul Holdengräber is the Director of Public Programs - now known as "LIVE from the NYPL" - for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.

*These annual lectures made possible by an endowed fund established by the friends and associates of the late Richard B. Salomon.