Sue Townsend, 1946-2014

It’s been a weird hour or so on Twitter, with tributes flooding in for Sue Townsend, even though not a single reputable source had been found save for a few anonymous Wikipedia editors. Then the BBC confirmed it at midnight. Sue Townsend, creator of the specky, pretentious teenager Adrian Mole, had died.

Good old Twitter. I love it, but it has killed many people who lived to tell the tale, so we were a bit sceptical. Tonight, though, it was sadly right, and so we say goodbye to a lovely woman who brought joy and a generous measure of well-deserved self-loathing to a generation of specky, pretentious teenagers worldwide.

I met her just once, at a book group and signing in Ottakar’s Loughborough for Ghost Children in about 1998 and, even though she then had serious health problems brought on by her diabetes, she was utterly charming to staff and customers alike. It’s good to hear a former fellow Ottakarian thinks likewise.

She did write on many other subjects, but for many of us of a certain age Sue Townsend will always be about Gian Sammarco as Adrian, Lindsey Anne Stagg as Pandora and this theme tune by Ian Dury.

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