June 7, 2004 by

Dom Moraes


Categories: Writers/Editors

Dominic Francis Moraes, a prestigious Indian journalist and poet, died on June 2 following a heart attack. He was 66.
The son of Frank Moraes, a famous Indian newspaper editor and author, Dom spent the majority of his childhood abroad. His mother, Dr. Beryl Moraes, was institutionalized for mental instability when he was a young boy, so Dom accompanied his father on jaunts to Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Britain.
Moraes was only 12 years old when he first starting writing poetry. At 19, he published “A Beginning,” his debut book of poems. In 1958, the collection won Britain’s Hawthornden Prize; Moraes was the youngest, and the first non-English person, to win the award. His second collection, “Poems,” became the Autumn Choice of the Poetry Book Society.
For the next half-century, Moraes became one of India’s leading literary figures. He published more than 30 books, including a biography of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, several travelogues, two memoirs and scripts for more than 20 documentaries, which aired on the BBC and Britain’s ITV.
Moraes visited every country on the planet, except Antarctica (which he liked to note was not actually a country). As a journalist, he covered wars in Algeria, Israel and Vietnam; as an editor, he worked on magazines in London, Hong Kong and New York.
Recently, Moraes was diagnosed with cancer. Knowing that his remaining time was limited, he refused treatment and focused all his energy on completing his final books.
Read the Poem, “Absences”

5 Responses to Dom Moraes

  1. Jon Horley

    My sincere but very late condolences on finding out about the death of a lovely man, who took time to invite me to his flat and meet his wife when I was trying to write poetry. We had a memorable (for me!) lunch with Christopher Logue also present, and another writer. My father had recently died, I was 19, and I was introduced to him because my Mother had got talking to his wife while they stood together in a post office! I’m afraid I never did become a poet, but I never forgot a luminous and encouraging encounter with Mr Moraes. My warmest good wishes to his partner and family.

  2. Onkar Sharma

    A very brief hello and a hand shake is all what I can remember at the Claridges Hotel, Delhi 1969/1970
    of Dom.
    I am sad that he is gone.

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