Jan Morris

September 6, 2009 | 3 Comments

jan_morrisI had the great pleasure of hearing Jan Morris—in conversation with Don George—at Book Passage on August 27th. Morris spoke about her forthcoming book, Contact! (“I’m a great advocate of the exclamation mark,” she asserts) available in the UK in October. Morris is nearly a legend for her ability to write about places; her new book, however, consists of stories about people: a cafe pianist, a cat illustrator, people met on a train or seen out a window.

Morris claims the 250 very short stories are necessarily “superficial glimpses” … but what struck me most as I listened to her reading selections from the book was the extent to which Morris is able to use seemingly superficial moments to illustrate universal truths. Although it may not have been easy (“One person is a harder thing altogether” to describe than a city), Morris’s wit, intelligence, and generous spirit make the short-short stories work elegantly. And her well-honed powers of observation have once again been put to use for our enjoyment and edification. “There’s no happier—or more useful—way to spend an hour than sitting in a cafe and watching people go by,” Morris smiles.

One final inspiration: Morris on writer’s block. “What do you call  it? Writer’s block. I’ve never suffered from it. And if I did, I would make myself write. I’ve often written pages and pages, just to keep the flow going. Anyway, I love to write. It’s one of the joys of my life.”


3 Comments so far

  1. dilandinga on October 4, 2009 10:49 am

    I bookmarked this link. Thank you for good job!

  2. pat johnson on October 5, 2009 9:05 am

    I love Jan’s work. She is one of the the all time great travel writers and I would love to meet her. I will be traveling to London at the end of October and would love to call her. I am one of the producers of Grannies on Safari a nationally syndicated TV Travel sow.

    Pat Johnson

  3. Joshua on October 20, 2009 5:15 am

    I absolutely love readinig short stories, after reading a few of Jan Morris short noverl’s, it only inspired me to read her short stories more often.

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