I don’t consider my books travel books. I don’t like travel books, as I said before. I don’t believe in them as a genre of literature.
Celebrated travel writer Jan Morris on not being a travel writer. Insightful and entertaining 1989 interview from the Paris Review.
This is a broad discussion covering a range of Jan Morris’ writing from throughout her career as well as her own journeys, external and internal, encompassing parts of her military service, writing career and change of gender.
Whether familiar with her work or not, this is an interesting interview about several of Jan Morris’ works including the Sultan in Oman, her writings about cities, Spain and, of course, Venice. She also talks about her non-fiction writing including her experiences on Everest, Conundrum (about her change of gender) and also her works and thoughts about histories and in particular the Pax Britannica Trilogy.
I resist the idea that travel writing has got to be factual.
Of particular note are Jan Morris’ observations about travel writing and the relationship between her work and fiction including her thoughts on why she doesn’t consider her own writing to be travel books and why reading travel books by others haven’t always prepared her for journeys to those places.
Great portrait of a varied, full and fascinating life and a great author.
The interview is also available in audio on Youtube: