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Sue Townsend Books In Order

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Publication Order of Adrian Mole Books

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Adrian Mole Diaries (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Adrian Mole and the Small Amphibians (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wilderness Years (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Cappuccino Years (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Diaries of Adrian Mole, 1999-2001 (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Prostrate Years (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of The Queen and I Books

The Queen and I (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Queen Camilla (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Rebuilding Coventry (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ghost Children (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Number 10 (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
True Confessions of Margaret Hilda Roberts Aged 14 ¼ (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Chapbooks

The Queen in Hell Close (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged Thirteen and Three Quarters: The Play (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Great Celestial Cow (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ten Tiny Fingers, Ten Tiny Toes (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Adrian Mole: The Collected Poems (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Public Confessions of a Middle-aged Woman (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Sue Townsend was a British published novelist. Her full name is Susan Lillian Townsend.

Sue was born in the United Kingdom is Leicester on April 2, 1946. She is a novelist perhaps most well known for writing the fictional Adrian Mole book series. The series sold more copies than any other during that decade in Britain. She has written books that are comedic and dramatic. In addition to the series, she has written several stand alone novels. She also was recognized for her plays, with her first signature character making its debut on a radio drama.

The author was born the oldest daughter with two other sisters. Her father worked at a jet engine factory and then worked as a postman. Her mother was employed in a factory canteen. The author went to Glen Hills Primary School. When she was 8 years old, she got mumps and had to stay home. Her mother brought her some books, the Just William books by Richmal Crompton. She would later note the character of William Brown being a creative influence.

She attended South Wigston High School after failing an 11-plus exam. One interesting part of her childhood was very dramatic. She was playing and up a tree when the children witnessed a schoolgirl being murdered. They weren’t believed but the man was later convicted and hanged. When she left school, she worked different jobs, including a packer, petrol station attendant, and receptionist.

In 1964 she married Keith Townsend. They had three children together, all by the time she was 23 years old. She became a single mother in 1971 when their marriage ended. They went through several hardships from being poor. She would even collect bottles so that she could redeem them for money to feed her children. She began writing her Adrian Mole books when her teenage son asked her about going out on family weekends like the others, and saw them as a way to view life in a comedic way through a teen’s eyes.

She would later meet Colin Broadway, her second husband. He would end up fathering Elizabeth, her fourth child. They were married June 13, 1986. She would conceive twice again but chose abortions for both. She would change her mind later and did not approve of termination. Her 1997 novel Ghost Children speaks to these experiences.

Colin would encourage her to join the Phoenix Theatre’s writing group in 1978. She was initially shy and did not write for weeks, but was given a fortnight with the task of writing a play that would become Womberang in 1979, a 30-minute drama. She would become the writer-in-residence at the Phoenix and be mentored by different directors such as Ian Giles and Sue Pomeroy, who would end up directing and commissioning a lot of Sue’s plays. She also met Soho Poly’s chairman William Ash, who would also help form her career. When meeting Carole Hayman at the theater, she did not know that they would work on developing theater pieces together. They would also co-write for television together later, writing for “The Refuge” and “The Spinney”.

The first two books of the Adrian Mole books appeared in ‘magazine’, an arts journal. An actor encouraged her to keep up the work and sent her script to the BBC Radio Drama deputy head John Tydeman. The first story reached an audience over the radio on BBC Radio 4, broadcasting the radio play “The Diary of Nigel Mole, Aged 13 3/4” in 1982 on New Year’s Day. Methuen’s publishers commissioned her to write the first book as a result of hearing the broadcast and it came out that same year. The character’s name was changed because it resembled another character name, but the book hit the best seller’s list and after one year sold an impressive million copies. It would then be adapted to become a play, running for over two years at Wyndham’s Theatre.

The second book to come out in the series was published in 1984 and is titled The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole. Apparently it was based on the experiences her own children had and some characters in the book were based on real staff. The book did end up being adapted for television, with the first two books in the series becoming a t.v. series that aired in 1985 and 1987, as well as a video game.

Sue also had other popular works. She released her first stand alone novel in 1988, Rebuilding Coventry. In 1992 her novel The Queen and I would be published. It imagines that the Royal family have found a new home after a Republican revolution, which ended up being just a nightmare. The author treated the story as an outlet for her own Republican feelings, as she had been a Republican ever since she was a child (although still treated the fictional Royal Family in the story as sympathetic). The novel was adapted to run on the stage and was successfully performed in the West End. Songs were written by Mickey Gallagher and Ian Dury.

She would publish Mr. Bevan’s Dream, an essay about the welfare state, in 1989. The book has different short stories which focus on the ways that education and welfare systems in the past supported or failed to support regular citizens. One story focuses on her experience giving birth while another focuses on people that have mental health issues and how these vulnerable individuals are treated, and another is a satire with dystopian elements where basics of the world that used to be free have been sold to private enterprises in the future.

The author would go through years of poor health. She chain smoked and had a heart attack while in her thirties. In the 80s she developed diabetes, having had previously also TB and peritonitis. Due to the diabetic, she would become officially registered as being blind in 2001. Sue went through kidney failure, taking dialysis and getting a kidney donated from her son Sean after waiting two years for a donor without success. Her condition of degenerative arthritis meant she had to be in a wheelchair. She would dictate to her son who was her typist and then undergo surgery at Leicester General Hospital.

Townsend passed away on April 10, 2014 at home after having a stroke. Her husband survived her, as did her children and grandchildren. She has received the Thames Television Playwright Award (1981 for Womberang), 2003 Frink Award, two honorary doctorates, the James Joyce Award in 2007, the Audiobook of the Year in 2012, and an honorary doctorate of letters in 2013 from De Montfort University.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 is the first story in the series.

Main character Adrian is distraught. Too much is going on. He was in love with Pandora, but now he’s alone. He thinks that his mother is being seduced by the neighbor, Mr. Lucas, which implies big problems for his father.

His poetry will not be published by the BBC since they refuse to. On top of that, his dog’s eating the Christmas cake’s tree decoration. Things are not going well. Can Adrian turn them around or is this just teenage life? Read this book and find out!

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole is the second book in this fictional series.

Adrian’s finding that his life contains only tragedy at 16 years old. He’s in an off and on relationship with his classmate that takes up most of his emotional energy and puts him in turmoil.

The British press continues to want nothing to do with him. He continues to be comedic and relatable, but how long can Adrian endure these circumstances? Read this classic book to find out!

Book Series In Order » Authors » Sue Townsend

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