Sue Townsend was an English novelist, dramatist and journalist. She is perhaps best known for creating the character of Adrian Mole who featured in 8 of her novels. Encouraged to join a writers group when she was in her early thirties at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester and it was there that she wrote the play Womberang. She also became writer-in-residence at the theatre.
The concept behind the Adrian Mole series first manifested itself as a radio dramatization featuring a character called Nigel Mole. A representative from the publisher Methuen heard the transmission and commissioned Townsend to write the first book The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and ¾. The book became a bestseller and as the series progressed, the novels became praised for their effective capturing of the inner life of adolescent boys and the mood of their decade.
In her later career Townsend wrote books which offered a humorous political or social commentary which seen as relevant to the times at which they were published.
Townsend had suffered various ailments and health conditions which meant that in her later career, she had to rely on dictating her work to her son who worked as her typist.
Sue Townsend died in 2014. Adrian Mole is still a popular character and his trials and tribulations are still widely read.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and ¾ (1982)
Recommended further reading:
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984)
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2009)
Queen Camilla (2006)
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year (2012)