Socialist Worker

Sue Townsend 1946-2014

by Paul Sillet
Issue No. 2399

Sue will be best remembered for her Adrian Mole books

Sue will be best remembered for her Adrian Mole books

Sue Townsend was a working class hero. She’d be embarrassed by that, but to lots of us, it’s the case.

Her Adrian Mole books will make us laugh and reflect long after Michael Gove is a footnote in history. She had a wicked sense of humour, and caught something about those dark days under Margaret Thatcher in a very original way.

Sue’s subtle skill made you laugh at Adrian’s pompous angst, but also feel for what he was going through.

Sequel The Cappucino Years was a ferocious attack on all things Blairite through the rise and fall of Pandora. 

She becomes a New Labour minister, but finally does the right thing and resigns over Iraq.

Sue was struck down several times by various illnesses. But these never overcame her spirits. Her blindness didn’t conquer her ability with words.

She was on good form with novel The Queen and I, where a revolution puts the royals on the dole. 

A principled socialist, Sue always encouraged everyone who resisted, especially in education.

Sue had been in a far left group, when young and working in a Leicester factory. Later she came to Anti Nazi League and other events in Leicester in the early 1990s. After meetings, she would sit, chat and help get people to aid the cause. 

She always seemed to have time to talk with people who tried to write but who, lacking higher education, weren’t confident doing so.

It made her chuckle when someone would repeat a “Moleism” in her company, without realising the source of the lines.

Her distinctive voice will be much missed.


Article information

Tue 15 Apr 2014, 19:08 BST
Issue No. 2399
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