12 Facts About Allen Lane


Allen Lane married Letitia Lucy Orr, daughter of Sir Charles Orr, on 28 June 1941 and had three daughters: Clare, Christine, and Anna.


Allen Lane rose quickly at Bodley Head, becoming managing editor in 1925 following the death of his uncle.


The legend goes that on a train journey back from visiting Agatha Christie in 1934, Allen Lane found himself on an Exeter station platform with nothing available worth reading.


Allen Lane conceived of paperback editions of literature of proven quality which would be cheap enough to be sold from a vending machine; the first was set up outside Henderson's in Charing Cross Road and dubbed the "Penguincubator".


Allen Lane was well aware of the Hamburg publisher Albatross Books and adopted many of its innovations.


Allen Lane was very stubborn when it came to his company; he operated mainly on intuition and imagination.


Allen Lane had decided that the books would be reprints so he needed to approach other publishers to see if they and their authors would be willing to sublease the rights of the books.


Allen Lane was sent to the Zoo in Regents Park to sketch penguins for the cover.


Allen Lane wanted a cover design that was consistent and easily recognizable.


In 1965, during an attempt by chief editor Tony Godwin and the board of directors to remove him, Allen Lane stole and burnt the entire print run of the French cartoonist Sine's book Massacre, which was reportedly deeply offensive.


Allen Lane dismissed Godwin, and retained control of Penguin, but was forced to retire shortly afterwards after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.


In 2010, Penguin Random House Canada launched an imprint named for Allen Lane to publish prestige non-fiction by established authors.