An interview with…Sue Townsend

Novelist and playwright Sue Townsend is most well known for her critically acclaimed Adrian Mole books. Her writing often combines witty comedy with a sharp social commentary, giving the reader a sense of depth and involvement that is unique to her work.

Sue was born and raised in Leicester. While she didn’t do too well in school, leaving at the age of 15, she found she had a knack for writing and enjoyed the creativity it offered.

Writing her first book in 1982, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ caught the imagination of readers across the length and breadth of Britain. Charting the ups and downs of the teenage life of Adrian Mole, the book became a firm favourite with readers.

Since the release of the first Adrian Mole book, Sue has written seven more, the most recent being Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years released in 2009.

As a long term sufferer of diabetes, she was registered blind in 2001. While this would hinder most people, Sue has woven the theme into her strong work ethic.

Sue was happy to briefly answer some of my questions:

How did you originally get into writing?

I was good at writing at school. I was praised so I carried on.

How much of the Adrian Mole series is based on your own life experiences?

Adrian is a summation of everything I’ve ever seen, heard or read over the past 65 years.

Why do you think the Adrian Mole series has become so popular?

He is popular because, like him we all think we deserve better from life.

What’s next for Adrian, have we seen the last of him or are there any plans to write another book?

Yes, there are plans to write another book, perhaps to be published in 2013.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Seeing my name in lights above the Royal Court Theatre, London and receiving the James Joyce Award from University College in Dublin.

Have there been any parts of your career that you regret?

I regret writing with other people; I have a singular style that doesn’t lend itself to collaboration.

If you could have any other job in the world, what would it be and why?

I would like to be a water engineer bringing clean water to communities without.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to become writers?

My advice, read, read, read and read. Then edit, edit, edit and edit. Then send your writing out into the world, you can’t sell it if its kept in a drawer!

Thanks very much.

Thank you and good luck.

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