Sue Townsend, British author of
'Adrian Mole' books, dies
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[April 11, 2014]
— British author Sue
Townsend, who found international fame chronicling the travails
through life of self-obsessed "Adrian Mole", has died aged 68, her
publishers said on Friday.
Townsend, who had to dictate novels in her later years after
losing her sight because of diabetes, passed away peacefully at
her home in Leicester, central England, after suffering a
stroke, Penguin Books said in a statement.
She found success after penning the "The Secret Diary of Adrian
Mole aged 13-3/4" in 1982, detailing a boy's comedic exploits as
he dealt with adolescence against the backdrop of Margaret
Thatcher's time as prime minister.
The novel sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and a
sequel two years later made her the best-selling novelist of the
1980s. She went on to write six more books in the hugely popular
"Sue Townsend will be remembered as one in a handful of this
country's great comic writers," said Tom Weldon, chief executive
of Penguin Random House.
"She was loved by generations of readers, not only because she
made them laugh out loud, but because her view of the world, its
inhabitants and their frailties was so generous, life-affirming
Townsend, who left school at 15 and had a variety of jobs from
factory worker to shop assistant, wrote in secret for 20 years
before joining a writer's group based at a theatre in Leicester.
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Aged 35 she won an award for her first play "Womberang" and began
her writing career in earnest. Towards the end of her career she
grappled with a diabetic condition that robbed her of her balance
and much of her eyesight.
"I allow myself to indulge in self-pity when I am on my own but I do
not want to write about it. I am anxious not to be seen as Mother
Courage," she told Reuters in a 2006 interview after penning a
satire on Britain's royal family.
Her last novel, "The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year," was
published in 2012 and sold more than half a million copies in
Britain alone. However, it is for her books about Mole and his
dysfunctional family that she will be best remembered.
"Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died," actor Stephen
Mangan, who played Adrian Mole in a BBC TV adaptation, said on
Twitter. "One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
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