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Thread: "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole" Author Sue Townsend dies age 68

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Default "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole" Author Sue Townsend dies age 68

    Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend, 68, dies at her home in Leicester after a stroke

    • Townsend was born in Leicester in 1946 and left school at the age of 15
    • She married at 18, and by 23 was a single parent with three children
    • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ was published in 1982
    • Captivated generation of children and was adapted for TV and theatre
    • Mole series of books made millions for author but she gave most of it away
    • She had lifesaving kidney transplant after her elder son donated a kidney
    • Townsend was left blind after suffering from diabetes for many years
    • Underwent a kidney transplant in 2009 but had a stroke at the end of 2012


    Novelist Sue Townsend, best known as author of Adrian Mole books, has died at the age of 68

    Sue Townsend, best known as the author of the Adrian Mole books, has died after suffering a stroke at the age of 68.
    The novelist and playwright, who died at home in Leicester, had various health problems throughout her life and had lost her sight in 2001 after complications from type 1 diabetes.
    In 2009 she received a new kidney donated by her son Sean, 50 – who was said to be the inspiration behind Adrian Mole – after a two-year wait for a donor.
    She leaves husband Colin Broadway, son, Sean, and her three other children Daniel, 45, Victoria, 44, and Elizabeth, 37.
    Family friend and fellow Leicester author Bali Rai broke the news of Townsend's death on Twitter last night after speaking to her family.
    Mr Rai told The Sun he had spoken to Townsend's son, Danny, who said she died at about 9pm yesterday but would not confirm she had died from a stroke.
    Mr Rai tweeted: 'Just been informed by her family that my hero, @SueTownsends has passed away. Utterly shocked and saddened. An amazing woman is gone.'
    He added: 'She was one of our own, and a unique voice in British literature. She will be missed... In an age of plastic idiots, she was a true role model.'
    Tom Weldon, chief executive of Penguin Random House UK, said: 'Sue Townsend will be remembered as one in a handful of this country's great comic writers. We were so proud to be her publishers.

    '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 and unique.'
    Celebrity fans who were influenced by her work paid tribute to the author, led by actor Stephen Mangan, who played Adrian Mole in the TV series.
    He wrote: 'Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died. One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met.’

    She left school at the age of 15, married at 18, and by 23 was a single parent with three children, a biography from her publisher, Penguin, said.
    After writing in secret for 20 years while working as a factory worker, shop assistant and youth worker, she eventually joined a writers' group at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester when she was in her 30s.

    'I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul de sac'
    'After hearing the disgusting noises from downstairs last night, I have also vowed never to drink alcohol'
    'Pandora! / I adore ya / I implore ye / Don't ignore me'
    'My mother wants to move. She wants to sell the house that I have lived in all my life. She said that we will need more room 'for the baby'. How stupid can you get? Babies hardly take any space at all. They are only about 21 inches long'
    'Had a note from Mr Cherry asking me when I can resume my paper round. I sent a note back to say that due to my mother's desertion I am still in a mental state. This is true. I wore odd socks yesterday without knowing it.'

    At 35 she won the Thames Playwright Award for her play, Womberang, and a year later published the first in her series about Adrian Mole, which she had begun writing in 1975 while living on a Leicester housing estate.
    The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 was published in 1982, to immediate success. The diary-style book was written from the point of view of a teenage boy in Leicester who believed himself to be an intellectual.
    Set in 1981 and 1982, it includes many of the key historic moments of the time, including the Falklands War, the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles, and the birth of Prince William, and was followed by a sequel, The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole, in 1984.

    It spawned a series of eight novels which were translated into 40 languages, went on to sell 10million copies and made the author a multi-millionaire.
    The two books made her the best-selling novelist of the 1980s, and were followed by six others in the Mole series, including The True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole and most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, in 2009.
    Much of Townsend's life was blighted by illness. She had a heart attack in her 30s and suffered from diabetes for many years, leaving her registered blind in 2001 and forced to resort to dictating her work.

    She later wrote: 'Over the course of one weekend recently, I went three-quarters blind… There was no treatment, and my best course of action was to buy a pair of very dark glasses.’

    In 2009 diabetes meant she needed a kidney transplant, and her elder son, Sean, donated one of his.

    Speaking in 2012, she said: 'He felt it more than I did. I'm used to having operations but he'd never been in hospital before. There was never any hesitation, though.
    'I was thrilled he was going to give me his kidney, but also scared for him and truly appreciated it.'
    In recent years she was left wheelchair-bound, with neuropathy in her limbs.

    As well as her Mole books, Townsend also wrote a number of other novels, including The Queen And I, as well as further plays and two non-fiction books.
    Several of her books were adapted for the stage, while the Mole series were adapted for radio, television and theatre. She also wrote monthly columns for Sainsbury's magazine from 1993 to 2001.

    Townsend was awarded an honorary Masters of Arts from Leicester University and in 2008 was made a Distinguished Honorary Fellow, the highest awards the university can give.
    She was also an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Loughborough University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
    In 2009 Townsend was given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester, and said: 'I have been a citizen of Leicester for over 62 years, most of my family and friends live here, so I was delighted when I was nominated to receive the freedom of the city.'
    But despite her vast success, Townsend revealed that the fortune she made from Adrian Mole had not made her happy – and she had given most of it away. In a candid interview, she once told how she has struggled to cope with fame.
    She said the depression which blighted most of her life was partly caused by a feeling of a ‘disconnect between me as the writer of Adrian Mole and me as the person I was’.
    She added: ‘I felt people were disappointed when they met me. They wanted someone like Barbara Taylor Bradford in furs.’


    1979: Womberang (play, Soho Poly)
    1981: The Ghost Of Daniel Lambert (play, Leicester Haymarket Theatre)

    1981: Dayroom ( play, Croydon Warehouse Theatre)
    1982: Captain Christmas And The Evil Adults (play, Phoenix Arts Theatre)
    1982: Bazaar And Rummage (play, Royal Court Theatre)

    1982: The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4
    1983: Groping For Words (play, Croydon Warehouse)

    1984: The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole
    1984: The Great Celestial Cow (play, Royal Court Theatre and tour)
    1984: The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 (play, Leicester Phoenix)

    1988: Rebuilding Coventry

    1989: The True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole
    1989: Disneyland It Ain't (play, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs)
    1989: Mr Bevan's Dream: Why Britain Needs Its Welfare State (non-fiction)

    1989: Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (play, Library Theatre, Manchester)

    1991: Adrian Mole: From Minor To Major

    1992: The Queen And I
    1993: Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years
    1994: The Queen And I (play, Vaudeville Theatre and Australian tour)

    1997: Ghost Children

    1999: Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years
    2001: Confessions Of A Middle-Aged Woman (non-fiction magazine columns)

    2002: Number 10
    2004: Adrian Mole And The Weapons Of Mass Destruction
    2006: Queen Camilla

    2008: The Lost Diaries Of Adrian Mole

    Read more: Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dead at 68 | Mail Online

    I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me. Hunter S Thompson

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  2. #2
    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    Had no clue she had been sick. I loved The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. Liked the other books in the series too even though they weren't as brilliant.
    If a god of love and life ever did exist... he is long since dead. Someone... something, rules in his place.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    fellow traveller


    i had no clue she'd been ill either. i discovered the secret diary of adrian mole in the school library when i was about 9. wasn't allowed to take it out (for grade 6 kids only) so i read it in secret in the library during lunch breaks. then i forced my mother to buy me all the others. another of my favourites by her is 'rebuilding coventry'. she was brilliant. RIP.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Aw, RIP. I love Adrian Mole.

    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.

    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  5. #5
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Feb 2007


    Poor lady really suffered her last few years. Rest,dear lady.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Oct 2005


    How sad. I adored Adrian Mole.

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