One of the finest and funniest novelists of the twentieth-century, British author Sue Townsend is best remembered for her hapless teenage pseudo-intellectual hero Adrian Mole. First introduced in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, Townsend’s timeless creation – remembered for such utterances as ‘Mrs Thatcher has got eyes like a psychotic killer, but a voice like a gentle person. It is a bit confusing’ and ‘My mother is in the hospital grounds smoking a cigarette. She is looking old and haggard. All the debauchery is catching up with her’ – went on to feature in a further seven volumes and inspired a BBC television adaptation.
Townsend first started writing after joining a local writers’ group at the Phoenix arts theatre in Leicester in 1975. Despite years of ill-health, Townsend was a prolific writer, penning two works of non-fiction, a dozen plays and regular newspaper articles as well as the Adrian Mole books and other novels, of which the best-known as Ghost Children, The Queen and I and The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year. She died in April 2014.