Sue Townsend, the beloved author, playwright, and journalist, has died after suffering a stroke at the age o 68.
Townsend created the well-regarded and best-selling books featuring Adrian Mole, an angst-ridden teen who spoke to U.K. youths his own age during the ’80s. The books inspired television movies after starting life as a play, and went on to become a rousing success.
“Now I realise that Adrian is simply a type of person who exists everywhere, regardless of nationality,” Townsend said once. “Shy, thoughtful, oversensitive, repressed. In a hut in the Gambia at this moment, there’s an Adrian Mole getting on people’s tits.”
Townsend suffered from diabetes and was registered blind in 2001, a struggle that haunted her every day.
“You can’t underestimate what a devastating blow it is,” she said. “People would say, ‘You’re so good about it.’ But inside… to me not being able to read, I still haven’t come to terms with it yet.”
Townsend may have been a best-selling author, but she was also a talented journalist who contributed to Observer, the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail. However, that doesn’t mean she ever forgot her first love: books.
“I do think that books, good books, free you,” she said in an interview. “They make you feel a citizen of the world and things like class, sex and age don’t matter. They’re the greatest leveller.”
Today, Twitter is mourning the loss of such a bright light in the literary world.
Sorry to hear about Sue Townsend. I used to love the Adrian Mole books. They were funny and original, and I can still quote from first two.
— Simon Kernick (@simonkernick) April 11, 2014
— Jonathan Ashworth MP (@JonAshworth) April 11, 2014
Sue Townsend died today. What a lady. What a writer. What a loss.God Bless Sue, I wish you well on your journey from this world to the next.
— richard hennerley (@RHennerley) April 11, 2014
R.I.P Sue Townsend. Without you, I wouldn't have had an imaginary boyfriend, age 11 and 1/2.
— Perri (@perrislutfield) April 11, 2014
— David Mathew (@daviddmathew) April 12, 2014
Image via YouTube