Saturday, 12 April 2014

My tribute to Sue Townsend

Sue Townsend, the well known writer of the Adrian Mole diaries, passed away two days ago, aged 68, following a stroke.

I had admired her work for many years, and my reading of the Adrian Mole diaries inspired me to keep a diary for three years myself- although I did not realise at the time that her diaries were supposed to be amusing and somewhat satirical. (I do now, just for the record).

Although Sue Townsend also wrote several other books, including Number Ten, The Queen and I, and The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year (her very last publication), it was the diaries of Adrian Mole, an average man of Leicester with delusions of grandeur, that made her famous in her field. Adrian Mole was a character many of us could identify with-an ordinary man wanting to achieve fame, to have a better life, to be a great writer despite his lack of any useful literary talent. The Adrian Mole diaries were also very useful for satirising the zeitgeist of the time they were written in (many of the diaries either run through UK general elections or approach them as they end).

Rather unfortunately throughout her writing career, Sue became blind, directly as a result of diabetes, but she did not let this stop her from continuing to write and entertain the public. It is unfortunate that with her death, the last Adrian Mole book, 'The Coalition Years', which I awaited, will now never be published, unless someone writes it in tribute to her. One notable aspect is that Adrian Mole is in many ways a less successful (and also fictional) portrayal of Sue Townsend.

In memory of Susan Lilian Townsend, author, born 2 April 1946, who departed this life on 10 April 2014, aged 68 years.

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