back to article Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68

Sue Townsend, queen of adolescent nerds and confessional publishing, has died. She was 68. Townsend is best known for her creation Adrian Mole, protagonist of The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 in 1982 and Growing Pains of Adrian Mole in 1984. The works, which tapped into the greasy, moist seam of teenage boy angst, …


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  1. Lionel Baden


    actually wanted to re-read them the other day ......

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember playing the text adventure by Level 9. Thought I'd be able to pull Pandora and get jiggy but it never happened. I found it crashing at times.

    I will read the books one day as the TV series is fondly remembered, part of my 80s childhood.

    1. daviduk

      The Level 9 game was great fun - and an inspired way to turn the books to computer games.

      Really shocked - enjoyed the books a lot, and will definitely be re-reading them, and her other stories as a tribute.

  3. AdamT

    Awkward conversations

    Ah yes, the days when parents let their young teens read the first book and prepared themselves for the awkward questions afterwards. (*)

    "Mum? What are ..."

    <what's she going to ask? what's she going to ask!?>

    " ... Tunisian Baggage Handlers?"

    (genuinely happened to some family friends)

    (*) As the article alludes, these were probably the first (or at least the first, successful) Young Adult/Aimed at Teens books that frankly discussed a number of topics that were formerly "behind the bike sheds"/"unsubstantiated gossip"/"things the older kids told you (or lied to you) about" areas!

  4. The Man Himself Silver badge

    More than Mole

    Reading this obit (and others today) you'd be forgiven for thinking that Adrian Mole had died, rather than his creator. Yes, the Adrian Mole books are the most well-known books by Sue Townsend, but she wrote more than just those...yet the non-Mole stuff hardly seems to get a mention. Take "The Queen and I"...superb story but, like the rest of her output, it's going un-noted

    1. OrsonX

      The Queen and I

      Is that the one where the Queen goes to live in a council house, but, in the end..... it was all a dream!

      Each to their own.

      However, I did enjoy reading Adrian Mole a very long time ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More than Mole

      The Queen and I was an excellent book. I'd love to put the royal family in a council house.

  5. Philip Lewis

    Swanning around

    And until this day, I cannot look at a swan without (a) remembering that "they can break your arm, you know" and (b) laughing at the bureaucratic response Mole received addressed to Mr. Swan on this very subject.

    But what of "The Cappuccino Years", which reminds me that it is time for my afternoon recharge?

  6. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Another bit...

    of my youth gone - but not forgotten, I remember very vividly reading the Mole books when just starting Middle school, a must read for everyone. Sue you will be sadly missed.

  7. Stevie


    Dear Ms Townsend:

    April 11th : Woke up. Ate cornflakes. Read The Brothers Karamazov.

    Egg and chips for tea.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Wow, dead at 68

    Which today is pretty young.

    1. DocJames

      Re: Wow, dead at 68

      Yep, far too young. Don't copy her and be "the world's worst diabetic" (her words).

      Blind, renal failure then transplant, 2 strokes (from the Guardian obituary)... listening to your doctor is a pain in the arse; the only thing worse is if you ignore them.

      DOI: a doctor who tries to persuade patients the future is coming, no matter how much they hide.

  9. JasonB

    RIP a very decent woman ...

    ... who gave a lot of pleasure and broke a lot of stereotypes.

    You will be missed.


  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just me?

    Or is the icon type photo of two dangling feet next to the headline in your "Top Stories" box rather inappropriate in this instance?

    1. BinkyTheHorse
      Thumb Down

      Re: Just me?

      It's not just you.

      Someone needs to train the interns to not blindly grab the first stock photo in the search results.

    2. Snar

      Re: Just me?

      No, I thought so too.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge


    I and the Norwegian Leather Industry will miss you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RIP

      "I and the Norwegian Leather Industry will miss you."

      Isn't that E.L.James you're thinking of?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP Sue Townsend

    Very sad news, I'd known about her diabetes and blindness but hadn't expected this. I understand she was in the middle of writing a new Adrian Mole book.

    The first two books shaped my own adolescence. I recently re-read through all of the Mole books and, while I remember the first two fondly, I grew increasingly annoyed with Adrian through the later books. While the other characters progressed with their lives, careers, relationships etc, Adrian never really seemed to grow up beyond the age of 13 3/4...

  13. Jim 59

    Adrian Mole

    Being a couple of years older than Moley, I enjoyed the original diary, as well as finding it slightly embarrassing. Adrian's problems are pretty ageless and have been encountered by 14 year old boys probably since the stone age. Very funny. Vaguely remember him raging against somebody called the "stick insect", think it was his dad's girlfriend.

    Townsend was not a trained writer. Born in Leicester in 1946, Townsend had lived what most of us would consider a “conventional life” before she had hit 25: she left school at 15, was married aged 18 and had divorced and was living as a single parent with three children at the age of 23

    Getting married at 18 and being a single parent by 23 were certainly not conventional events in the 1964/69, although they are fairly common in 2014.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      "Getting married at 18 and being a single parent by 23 were certainly not conventional"

      You think? Both my mother and my aunt were married in their teens - my aunt in 1955 and my mother in 1972 - and my mother was a single parent at 23. Slightly outside your window, but when it's happening before and after it was certainly happening in between.

  14. Andrew R

    RIP Sue Townsend

    Very sad news :-(

    I remember reading both of the books when I was 14 and my family had just moved to

    a new town so related to it in a big way especially seeing as the town had a very large amount of british expats (Kloof in natal ) .

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