Sue Townsend was born in Leicester in 1946 and left school at 15 years of age. After working in a variety of jobs, she joined a writers' group at Leicester's Phoenix Theatre in her thirties. Her first play, Womberang (1979) won the Thames Television Playwright Award and she followed it with plays including The Great Celestial Cow (1984), Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (1990), and The Queen And I (1992).She became writer-in-residence at the Phoenix Theatre.
However, Townsend is best known for her series of young adult novels centered around Adrian Mole. The first of these, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 was published in 1982 and was followed by The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1984). She became the best-selling novelist of the 1980s and adapted the first book for the stage two years after its publication. Several more books followed, including Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1993), Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004) and The Lost Diaries of Adrian Mole, 1999-2001 (2008). The books have all been adapted for radio, television and theatre. In 2001, Sue Townsend published The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman aged 55 3/4 (2001), which comprised of a collection of monthly columns written from 1993-2001.
Townsend experienced ill health for several years and she died eight days after her 68th birthday, following a stroke.
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