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Each edition has traditionally featured an atlas, a gazetteer, a chronological list of events, a list of prominent people (past and present), a miniature encyclopaedia of general information and around a dozen or more other sections on various subjects such as cinema, classical mythology, current events, wine, astronomy, ideas and beliefs, gardening, medicine, etc. The selection of subjects has varied slightly over the years, and recently the atlas section has been dropped.
Since 1953 it has been published annually. The most recent edition (2015-2016) is the 124th, published in August 2015. It was for many years published by Pelham Books but is currently published by Penguin Books. It has been edited by Dr. Chris Cook since 1977.
During the 1950s, the encyclopedia awarded the Silver Pears' Trophy annually to a prominent person for "outstanding British achievement in any field."
- "Pears Cyclopedia". Penguin Books. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
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