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

Bookworm, an “I want it sign” and Caldwell Banned?

I always like finding bits and pieces in books used as bookmarks such as receipts, bus and train tickets, shopping lists etc. and in this case a flyer for ‘The Book Club’ I actually have two of these bookends but I must have bought them as although I was in ‘The Book Club’ I never enrolled any one as far as I can remember which these days isn’t saying much! I found one out and put a few books in to demonstrate (note choice at the front) They were not very good as they had a tendency for the base to bow.

I had a email from fellow PAN Fan Jules down in Plymouth to tell me about someone selling two illuminated bookshop signs. Unfortunately, tempting as the one is, they are collect only and in Mafra, Victoria, Australia. I don’t think I can justify the cost of a flight although I could try!

The Georgia State Assembly approved House Bill 247 on Feb. 19, 1953, with no dissent, establishing the Georgia Literature Commission but it wasn’t until 1957 that the commission issued its first ruling against a book, “God’s Little Acre” by Erskine Caldwell. This was a novel written in 1933 about the decline of a poor rural family in Georgia but despite the commission’s recommendation of prosecution, the state judicial system never acted on it.
This gives me an excuse to show my original Hans Helweg cover for this title again which I’ve just had framed along with ‘Tobacco Road’

Lydia Monks, a PAN Flyer and Alexander Knox

While looking through Twitter feeds from various sources I came across a reference to Lydia Monks being awarded a ‘Golden PAN Award’ on the 26th February in the foyer of the PAN offices. It was for illustrating ‘The Ladybird Who Heard’ with text by another winner, Julia Donaldson.

Another PAN related item I found on Twitter was an image of one of the PAN flyers from 1962. It’s just a pity they didn’t do a better job and get it all in!

I’ve emailed them to ask if they could kindly let me have a photo or scan to show all of the flyer. I’ll report back as soon as I have any further news.

In keeping with my intention to feature an author who was born or who died in the week of the blog, this time is is the turn of Alexander Knox. He was born on the 16th January 1907 in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada and died on the 25th April 1995 at Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the UK. He was probably better know for his role as an actor than as an author, credited with 93 appearance in films or on TV but only writing 6 books. As far as I can ascertain PAN only published two of his novels which can be seen HERE

‘Private Eye’ Magazine Joke, Peter Tinniswood and Frank Ross

Sometimes when I’m out and about I feel a little like the man in the above but I was pleased to hear that our local ‘Book Exchange’ (was the library until the council cuts, now run by volunteers) is extending its opening hours because of the increased demand.

Back in the 1970’s I used to listen to a radio programme called ‘I Didn’t Know You Cared’ and I was pleased to find PAN published three tie-in books which I’ve just read and the stories are every bit as good (or possibly bad if not your sense of humour) as I remembered them. They were written by Peter Tinniswood who was probably better know for his ‘Tales From The Long Room’ all about cricket.

I was trying to find a connection so I could including the five PAN titles by Frank L Ross who is not only an author but also an attorney in Litchfield, Arizona in the States. I sent him an email asking for some background details such as birthday etc as I know he is 80 but nothing so far, not even a quote for a consultation!

The Gruffalo 2, Wilbur Smith, Len Deighton & an unexpected email.

As I mentioned last week ‘The Gruffalo‘ was 20 years old on the 6th April and I was very pleased to find the copy I had ordered turned out to be a signed edition from Waterstones. It was no more expensive that the cheapest prices from other dealers, just wondering how many copies Julia and Axel actually signed?

Still trying to find a list of the 22(?) Wilbur Smith titles that won a ‘Golden PAN Award’ but in the meantime here are three different versions of the same cover for ‘Cry Wolf with the artist, Kevin Tweddle, only being credited on the later edition. I did try to contact Kevin quite a while ago at a pub he was supposed to be running but no luck. Might be time to try again. Interesting to see how the prices have gone up over the years.

A while ago I said that PAN hadn’t published many titles by Len Deighton but he had endorsed a couple by other authors. I’ve just found two more to add to the list, they are by by Max Hastings.

I send off many emails and letters and get about a 50% hit rate so this week I was pleasantly surprised to get a reply to one I sent last October. I asked Paul Roberts about his artwork used for the Timothy Harris covers and he said; “Hi Tim, The painting was sold and yes I did know that Pan used the painting, one half on one book and the other on the other. I don’t mind at all if you use the image. Quite a few have been used as book cover illustrations a whole series of George V Higgins books published by Robinson Publishing” Here are a few of the Higgins covers I’ve got off the various websites.

Happy Birthday Gruffalo, George Sharp and another ‘How Much!’

‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler was first published on the 6th April 1999 so he will be 20 on Friday. Both Julia and Axel received a ‘Golden PAN Award’ for sales of a million copies plus scrolls for further sales of a million copies of other titles.

Having met Julia and Alex at the 70th Anniversary party for PAN where they were given the ‘Golden PAN Awards’ I’m really pleased for them as they were very friendly and Julia even held up my card albeit upside down. I’m looking forward to playing with the ‘Deep Dark Wood’ scene included in the 20th edition. 

Just got another cover by George Sharp to add to his page and this time I’ve checked with him and he says ‘Yes’ it is one of his. It is Green City in the Sun’ by Barbara Woods and I have two copies(?) both dated 1989 but one has the PAN Man logo on the from cover, the other doesn’t while the first copy doesn’t have a logo on the spine the other does. I wondered if it was because the logo would have covered up the creature on the spine but didn’t stop them in the later one.     

Having collected copies of Whitakers ‘Paperback in Print’ over the years I was interested to see the 1982 edition was advertised by a bookseller. Having got the 1981 and 1983 editions I thought this would fill a gap on the shelf but on looking again I think I might give it a miss especially seeing the name of the seller!

If you are reading this on Monday the 1st April it’s not an April Fool and it means the scheduled launch has worked again as I am down in Somerset staying in the camper combined with the 60 Birthday Party of my work experience boy from more years ago than I care to remember. He has just retired from running a camping and caravan park so bang goes my ‘freebie’ nights.