Sue Townsend, the creator of young adult hero Adrian Mole, has died following a stroke. We have some of her books here.
Her publisher, Penguin Books said Friday that Townsend died in Leicester, central England, a day earlier.
Townsend left school at 15, married at 18, and by 23 was a single mother of three. She worked in a factory, in shops and at other jobs — and wrote, honing her style for years before breaking through into publication.
Her first novel, “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾,” was published in 1982 and was hailed as a comic masterpiece. Written in the voice of a gauche but observant teenager, it fused the acute awkwardness of adolescence with the zeitgeist of Thatcher-era Britain.
The beleaguered teen bemoaning his dull suburban life and pining for unattainable classmate Pandora struck a chord with millions of readers. “I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul-de-sac,” Adrian lamented early on.
The book was a huge success, selling more than 20 million copies around the world, and Townsend followed Adrian Mole into adulthood in a series of books, several of which were adapted for the stage, radio or television. The most recent, “Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years,” was published in 2009.
Townsend’s work combined satire of social injustices and a strong sense of life’s absurdity with warmth for her characters — a distinctive combination that won her millions of fans.