PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

W B Yeats and Michael Leonard

Last week I mentioned a strange coincidence which was that I was going to put up a page of the W B Yeats covers with portraits by Michael Leonard, an artist I’ve mentioned before. I was looking for an image of him and found a self portrait usually exhibited in the Ferens Gallery, Kingston Upon Hull. The strange part was that last week we were in Hull at the Ferens gallery to see the Turner prize nominees which unfortunately meant the portrait had been relegated to storage while the Turner exhibits were on. We were not too impressed with them apart from one where the artist had produced ‘real’ painting. He was a local lad, well local to us here in the Midlands, namely Hurvin Anderson and as we liked them this will probably mean he won’t win, sorry Hurvin.

To see the Michael Leonard Shakespeare paintings I’ve shown before click HERE. To see the Yeats covers click HERE. Michael does have a lot of his book covers on his site HERE but only shows one of the PAN Yeats and doesn’t include the ‘Grendel’ cover by John Gardner. Having been away I’ve not had time to include more but I am really pleased to say the builders have finished my ‘library’ and it’s now up to me to finish it off!

Nothing to do with books but another strange coincidence in Hull was that on the Tuesday night we were just wandering around when a man came up to us and asked if he could help and then proceeded to give us maps. We had a long chat and then said goodbye. The next day we were following the ‘fish trail’ (different fish images on the ground all around Hull) when we got stuck trying to find a one by a pub. In the end we went into the pub and we were amazed to see the man we had been talking to the night before. When we eventually found the ‘crab’ we had actually walked passed in so if we had spotted it we wouldn’t have walked in to the pub and we wouldn’t have met up again – spooky or what – must be a precursor to Halloween!

Nicholas Monsarrat 80’s Covers

This was not the blog it was going to be this week, that will appear next week as I’ve experienced one of those weird coincidences and all will be revealed then.

Following on from “The White Rajah” last week I contacted George Sharp again and included a scan of the back cover for the 1980 edition which clearly states it is by him. He replied “I don’t recall doing it, Tim, and it doesn’t look like my work.” I now have a copy of the similar 1977 edition and I think this looks like a photo and the cover attributed to George is painted from that. We’ll probably never know the answer.

This week I’m featuring the PAN Monsarrat covers from around 1980 which have the name sideways on. So far I have found ten with what might be another in the post. The list inside does include at least two more titles but I’ve not found then published in the same style. To see the ten click HERE. I’ve listed some as 1980(?) as I just can’t figure out an accurate date. I have also been in contact with Brian Sweet who painted the cover for “The Ship That Died Of Shame” He is going to see if he still has the original artwork.

Popping up to Kingston Upon Hull, ‘UK City of Culture 2017’ shortly to see if I can get some ‘kultcha’ to rub off on me. We were there last year and it was like a building site but we are told it is now very impressive. A bit disappointing when searching online for bookshops in the area but you never know.

Finally, the builders should finish knocking down walls etc. this week for my ‘library’ which unfortunately means the rest is up to me to put up a false ceiling, dividing wall etc. so maybe in six months …..!

“The White Rajah”, another Golden PAN Award and an elusive cover.

Sorting through books again I found I had four different editions plus an image of another of “The White Rajah” by Nicholas Monsarrat. They can be see HERE. I’ve been trying to buy the 1977 edition but in spite of a photo of it being used by many sellers it is a ‘stock image’ and I now have three copies of the 1980 edition. What is puzzling is at first glance I thought the 1977 and 1980 editions had the same painting but on closer inspection there are many similarities but also many differences. The 1980 edition credits George Sharp as the artist and if I ever get a 1977 edition I see it that also says George. I contacted George to ask if he could recall this but he replied “Can’t help with the Monserrat. It wasn’t in my tenure” which is a bit odd as he is definitely named as the artist for the later edition. I’m hoping the 1977 edition I’ve got coming from France is the right one.

As a follow up to PAN’s 70th Birthday when they gave out six Golden Pan Awards here is Ken Follet, who was elsewhere on the night, receiving his from Anthony Forbes Watson (MD PAN) at a later event. Now I just need the photo Emma Donoghue has promised me when her award arrives in Canada.

Very pleased to now have the 1976 edition of “Midnight Plus One’ by Gavin Lyall. I had seen the original artwork at Colin Larkin’s house (unfortunately the paint is beginning to peel of the board) but could I find a copy of the book? Well at last I have so I’ve added it to Harry Hants page as he was the artist and it can be seen HERE.

….. and finally work starts on the doors to my library this week!

“The Crock of Gold”, Brian Withams plus “How much!”

While searching for information on artists I came across a cover I’d not seen before for the novel “The Crock of Gold” by James Stephens. Now I’ve got a copy of that edition can I find the name of the artist, annoyingly no. I think PAN published four editions and the only artist I can name is Val Biro  for the 1953 cover. The four covers can be seen HERE I’ll keep looking for those elusive artists.

After putting up a page to show “The Dam Busters” covers last week I thought I’d see if I could find out any more about Brian F S Withams who’s painting appears on the 1978 edition. I don’t know if it was commissioned by PAN as Brian painted many aviation scenes. I found an address for him in Kingston Upon Thames and wrote to there but unfortunately I got a reply from the present occupant to say I had got the right address but he didn’t live there any more and they though he might have died.
I emailed the ‘Guild of Aviation Artists’ and Martin Perman kindly replied to say that Brian had been Vice Principal of the Guild but had died in November 2012. The only other information I could find was he was born in September 1932 in Maldon Essex and married Rose M Scott in 1956 in Surrey Northern.Look carefully to see it is signed ‘Withams’ middle bottom on the back cover.

……. and for those wondering if it’s worth collecting paperbacks here is an optimistic seller on It says they’ve ‘Just Launched” as a seller but at these prices it may soon be more of a case of “sunk without trace” Even converted to £660 it sounds a tad too much!

“The Dam Busters” Update plus bits and pieces.

Having hunted through all the copies of  “The Dam Busters” I can find that have not been stored away awaiting the completion of my ‘Library’ I make it a total of 13 different covers albeit some fairly subtle shown HERE I now need to track down more of the artists. I’m surprised at how many different ISBN’s this title has had and I also need to confirm a couple of dates from the latter editions. If anyone out there has any other variations or artist information I’d love it if you could let me know by just leaving a comment.

The builders working on our alterations are following their own schedule which unfortunately is not as fast as I would like but my wife actually let me order one section of the type of bookcase I want to use. These are fully adjustable in many different sizes but not that cheap so I need to get it right. The one I have gives me 16 feet if I double stack, only another 684 feet (approx.) to go! The garage roof has been coated in fibreglass, the three lanterns are in place, a small part of the foundations have been laid. They are supposedly coming to remove the old conservatory today and put up a new one on the old and new foundations. All the end wall of the garage will come out and bi-fold doors put in and that’s where my library will be – eventually!

This week not only have I had to try and keep the builders happy with a constant stream of tea and coffee (and talking of streams where do they go to relieve themselves I wonder as they not asked to use our toilet? Maybe I don’t want to know!) but we’ve also been given £2,000 towards our ‘Back The Track’ campaign, well that’s the Public Liability Insurance sorted so we have the skip, we have the medical help, now we just need the volunteers to clear the swamp of rubbish and do some pruning under the ‘Miner Island’ in Brownhills so walkers can get through.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to upload the blog this week as my internet company made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I now have a fibre connection five times faster than I had with copper and I’m paying less per month. Always wary about changing something that has worked fine up to now but pleased to find it was a painless upgrade.

I’ll get back to PAN Books next week as the diary is looking fairly empty for once, just wondering what I might have forgotten to add to it?