Janet Ellis on Puffin editor Kaye Webb April 19, 2022

from Great Lives· ·

Writer, broadcaster and Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis champions the life of Kaye Webb, who burst on to the children's publishing scene in 1961 and changed the industry forever. With no publishing experience whatsoever, Kaye persuaded renowned authors like Roald Dahl and Nina Bawden to publish their hardback bestsellers as pocket-sized paperbacks that children could buy themselves. Hundreds of thousands flocked to join her Puffin Club with its riotous exhibitions, trips and competitions. Janet shares her memories of growing up abroad with her "portable kingdom" of Puffin books, and explains why Puffin and Blue Peter have a lot in common. …



Writer, broadcaster and Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis champions the life of Kaye Webb, who burst on to the children's publishing scene in 1961 and changed the industry forever. With no publishing experience whatsoever, Kaye persuaded renowned authors like Roald Dahl and Nina Bawden to publish their hardback bestsellers as pocket-sized paperbacks that children could buy themselves. Hundreds of thousands flocked to join her Puffin Club with its riotous exhibitions, trips and competitions. Janet shares her memories of growing up abroad with her "portable kingdom" of Puffin books, and explains why Puffin and Blue Peter have a lot in common. Janet is joined in the studio by Kaye's biographer, the writer Valerie Grove. They talk about Kaye's three marriages, especially the last, to cartoonist Ronald Searle, then one of the most famous men in the country. We also hear personal memories of Kaye from Clare Morpurgo, daughter of Penguin founder, Sir Allen Lane. With thanks to Puffin Club expert Sherief Hassan, Philippa Dickinson and Emma Thompson. Photo courtesy of Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle upon Tyne. Presented by Matthew Parris. Produced by Sarah Goodman for BBC Audio Bristol.