YOU'RE BOOKED!

Inside Publishing

Pan celebrated its 50th birthday this week with a grand party at Holland Park's Orangery.

Pan was founded by Alan Bott, owner of the Book Society, with Collins, Hodder & Stoughton and Macmillan between them holding just under half the shares. Its first titles included books by Kipling, Priestley and Agatha Christie. Over the years the ownership changed, until in the Eighties Macmillan became the sole owner. In 1995, the family firm of which Harold Macmillan had been so proud itself became part of a German conglomerate.

Pan's president, Alex Macmillan, the present Lord Stockton, is an increasingly rare sight on the literary scene. Indeed, he was absent last week, though his younger brother David was on hand to welcome such guests as Lord Jenkins, Sir Robin Day, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Lynda La Plante, Rachel Billington, Ken Follett, Andrew Neil and Hammond Innes. Congratulatory messages came from Wilbur Smith, Peter Mayle and Colin Dexter, who wrote in verse, while Jackie Collins appeared in person, looking almost as exquisitely airbrushed as her book jackets.

These days, it seems, celebrity means nothing if you haven't got a novel listed on your CV. This week, two more TV personalities have embarked on new careers: Alan Titchmarsh, whose gardening gloves have already embraced Songs of Praise, is at work on Mr McGregor, a light romance set around a TV gardening programme with falling ratings. And Robert Llewellyn, best known as Kryten in Red Dwarf, is at work on a retelling of Pygmalion. Called The Man on Platform Five, it's about two posh girls who make a bet that one of them can transform the nerdy trainspotter on Luton station into a man one of them will fancy. An obvious twist, really, though GBS would doubtless have something to say about it.

At last week's presentation of the pounds 30,000 Orange Prize for Fiction - women's fiction, that is - the chair of the judges, Professor Lisa Jardine, irritated most of the mere males present, and not a few of the women, by asserting that men didn't really read novels by women: they merely read the reviews and pretended. In fact, the surroundings suggested strongly that men don't read at all. For every book in the Gladstone Library at the old male-only National Liberal Club is fake.

Publishers are apt to get very excited about a genre known in some quarters as "hocus pocus" - that is, books about pyramid power or those suggesting that Jesus once lived in Chipping Sodbury. Perhaps they're right to do so: Anthony Cheetham, the portly chairman of Orion, says that advance orders for The Bible Code have reached 74,000. Written by an Israeli mathematician, Michael Drosnin, it purports to demonstrate the predictive powers of the Bible, allegedly showing that two world wars and the assassinations of Kennedy and Rabin are all in the good book. I wonder: did it also predict Conservative meltdown?

Delia Smith is slipping. Literally. For the 12 weeks ending 17 May, Booktrack figures reveal that the woman who got us all obsessed by sticky toffee pudding and decreed that we should put a slice of lime in our G&T has been eclipsed by Rick Stein, atop the Top 50 with Fruits of the Sea, which has sold 9,092 copies. In at three is his Taste of the Sea, with 3,329. Poor old Delia could manage number 5, her Complete Cookery Course outsold not just by the ubiquitous River Cafe Cookbook but also by Annabel Karmel's Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. Is this the end of civilisation as we know it?

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Digital Project Manager / Web Project Manager

£45-50k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced ...

Account Manager

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager to join ...

Social Advertising Manager / Social Media Manager

£Excellent + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Social Advertising Manager / Social Med...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?