Author of the Adrian Mole stories Sue Townsend has died at the age of 68. She suffered a short illness and died on Thursday, according to a family friend.
The novelist wrote a number of books, but her most famous were those surrounding her character Adrian Mole. The first story published in 1982 was The Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4. It took 27 years for the series to be completed with Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years. The books are now available as a box set for those who want to enjoy all in one go.
According to the author, the novels centered around the teenage boy mirrored her own life. They were about Mole’s life during Margaret Thatcher’s government, which brought struggle and suffering for many around him. He then grew up and saw the government change to that of Tony Blair’s from 1997 onwards.
One thing that made Townsend stand out from many other authors is that she wrote while blind. During the 1980s, she found out that she had diabetes and the disease affected her eyesight. She later needed a kidney transplant, which she had in 2009 thanks to her elder son. Her health had never been great before that, suffering a heart attack in her 30s.
Many authors, celebrities and fans have taken to social media sites to express their sadness. One author, Danny Wallace, explained how he would always attend her book signings when he found out she was in a town near him. Continuing with the titling of the original diary, she would always sign with her age. For example, she signed one of Wallace’s books “age 45 and a half.” Townsend had died aged 68, after celebrating her birthday on April 2.
J.K. Rowling has also expressed her sadness through Twitter, saying that the Adrian Mole author always gave her some laughs. She used the hashtag #AdrianMoleWillLiveForever, which is not yet trending. However, the author’s name and character name are both currently top 10 worldwide trends.
The Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 and its sequels have since developed into movies for TV. Stephen Mangan played the role of the main character in the 2001 adaptation of The Cappuccino Years. It was his first ever lead role, and he was extremely nervous. Townsend helped make him feel at ease, sensing just how much he was trying to act confident.
She likely felt some connection to Manhan. She had written much of the series in secret. It was not until the 1970s that she decided to join a writers group, because she feared that people would not like her work.
Her books were also adapted into stage plays, and for radio. She was the best-selling author in the 1980s thanks to the initial and follow-up books centered around her main character. Since the novels, she was awarded an honorary Masters of Arts and then and honorary Doctor of Letters from Leicester University and Loughborough University respectively.
The author made millions from her series, but she decided to give the majority of it away. Townsend died at the age of 68 from a stroke, after suffering a short illness.
By Alexandria Ingham