British comic author Sue Townsend, the creator of teenage angst-ridden Adrian Mole, has died after suffering a stroke. She was 68. Penguin Books confirmed Friday that Townsend died in Leicester, central England, a day earlier.
Born in Leicester, Townsend left school at 15, married at 18, and by 23 was a single mother of three. She worked in a factory, in shops and at other jobs - and wrote, honing her style for years before breaking through into publication.
Her first novel, "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾," was published in 1982 and was hailed as a comic masterpiece. Written in the voice of a gauche but observant teenager, it combined the acute awkwardness of adolescence with insight into the politics and culture of Thatcher-era Britain.
It was a huge best-seller, and Townsend followed Adrian Mole into adulthood in a series of books. The most recent, "Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years," was published in 2009.
Another favorite with readers was "The Queen and I," which envisioned a future in which a republican British government banished the royal family to live among the common people - a situation they coped with surprisingly well.
Several of Townsend's books have been turns into stage plays. Her latest novel was "The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year," published in 2012 and selling more than 500,000 copies in Britain.
In later years Townsend, who had diabetes, used a wheelchair and was registered blind. In 2009 she received a transplanted kidney from her son.