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Townsend 'was working on Mole book'

Adrian Mole's latest diary m ay go unread after the death of his creator Sue Townsend.

The novelist, who died yesterday, had produced "a few wonderful pages" of another book featuring her most famous character.

The book - which would have been the tenth in the best-selling series - had a working title of Pandora's Box, a reference to Adrian's obsession with the unobtainable Pandora Braithwaite.

A spokeswoman for Penguin Books said: "The book was planned for publication in autumn, but we have only seen a few wonderful pages."

It is unclear if those pages will ever be published now although discussions on the subject between her family and Penguin are likely to be held at a later date.

The 68-year-old writer died in her home city of Leicester after a short illness. Her publishers said she died "surrounded by her family" after suffering a stroke.

Townsend, who was left blind after suffering from diabetes for many years, achieved worldwide success after the publication of her best-known work, The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, in 1982.

It went on to sell more than 20 million copies around the world.

Tom Weldon, chief executive of Penguin Random House UK, said: "Sue Townsend will be remembered as one in a handful of this country's great comic writers.

"We were so proud to be her publishers.

"She was loved by generations of readers, not only because she made them laugh out loud, but because her view of the world, its inhabitants and their frailties was so generous, life affirming and unique."

Stephen Mangan, who played Adrian Mole in a 2001 television adaptation, tweeted his condolences, saying: "Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died. One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met."

Writer Caitlin Moran said she was " One of the funniest women who ever lived".

Townsend was born in Leicester in 1946, and set her most famous work in her home city.

She left school at the age of 15, married at 18 and by 23 was a single parent with three children.

After writing in secret for 20 years while working as a factory worker, shop assistant and youth worker, she eventually joined a writers' group at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester when she was in her 30s.

At 35 she won the Thames Playwright Award for her play Womberang and a year later published the first in her series about Adrian Mole, which she had begun writing in 1975 while living in Leicester's Saffron Lane estate.

The book was an instant hit and was followed by The Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole in 1984 and others in the Mole series, including The True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole and most recently Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, in 2009.

Much of Townsend's life was blighted by illness. She had a heart attack in her 30s and suffered from diabetes for many years, leaving her registered blind in 2001 and forced to resort to dictating her work.

In 2009 she had a kidney transplant, also a complication of her diabetes, which was donated by her son, Sean.

In recent years she was left wheelchair-bound, with neuropathy in her limbs.

Townsend also wrote a number of other novels, including The Queen And I, as well as further plays and two non-fiction books.

H er latest novel, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, has sold more than half a million copies in the UK since it was published in 2012.

Several of her books were adapted for the stage, while the Mole series were adapted for radio, television and theatre.

In 2009 Townsend was given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester.

She said at the time: ''I have been a citizen of Leicester for over 62 years, most of my family and friends live here, so I was delighted when I was nominated to receive the freedom of the city.''

She leaves behind her widower, Colin Broadway, and four children.


From Belfast Telegraph