Sue Townsend is featured in this week's Guardian book club podcast, discussing her first novel, the classic Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4, one of my favorite books of all time (I'm practically the same age as Adrian, and have read every one of the books as they came out). Townsend is as engaging and funny as you'd expect, and is dead interesting on the subject of literature and the secret history of the Mole books.
She explains that much of Adrian's character is based on her own experience as a "secret" writer for years, put off from going public with her work by a disapproving first husband. Her second husband proved much more encouraging, and after a creative writing playwriting course at a Leicester theatre, Adrian was born after an actor asked for an audition piece.
What followed, she explains, is in part "meant for mothers of teenage boys to give them an inkling of what goes on" in their very private minds. Like Adrian's, she says, they are full of dreams - not least, in his case, to become "an intellectual" - but they are also very judgmental of the adults around them.
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