Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at age 68 after illness

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 10:10pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 April, 2014, 1:23am


Sue Townsend, the British author responsible for the multimillion- selling Adrian Mole series documenting the humdrum life of an awkward teenager, has died.

Her son Danny Townsend confirmed that the novelist, who was 68, had died at home on Thursday after a short illness.

After writing a series of well-received plays, Sue Townsend was catapulted to mainstream fame when she released
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged
in 1982.

Within three years, the book had sold close to two million copies. It was followed in 1984 by
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, helping make her Britain's top-selling author of the 1980s.

Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, the last of the eight-part series, was released in 2009.

Townsend, who was born in Leicester in 1946, contracted TB peritonitis at 23, had a heart attack in her 30s, suffered from Charcot's joint-degenerative arthritis - confining her to a wheelchair - and lost her sight after she was diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s. She underwent a kidney transplant in 2009 in which her eldest son, Sean, donated an organ, and she suffered a stroke over Christmas 2012.

Writer Caitlin Moran was one of many stars who paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "One of the funniest women who ever lived."

The first of the fictionalised diaries follows Mole, said to be modelled on son Sean, as he painfully navigates adolescence.

The books are widely recognised as having captured the essence of 1980s Britain under the rule of Margaret Thatcher.

Her last novel,
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, was published in 2012.

Agence France-Presse