Document Reference NumberST
Acc No2014/10
TitleThe Sue Townsend Collection: records relating to Sue Townsend, author and playwright (1946 - 2014)
DescriptionComprising the literary, personal and business papers of Susan Lillian Townsend.

The literary papers consist of correspondence with publishers, agents and contemporary writers; holograph manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks and research material relating to her books, plays and screenplays, both published and unpublished; and material relating to her contributions to newspapers and magazines. The author's personal papers include family photographs, letters and ephemera. The business papers relate to the financial and administrative papers of Sue Townsend Ltd, including accounts, contracts and royalty statements.
Extent40 linear shelf metres.
ArrangementBefore its arrival at the Library, the contents of the filing cabinets had been sorted to a greater or lesser extent by Sean Townsend. This is particularly true of the author's literary papers, which were broadly arranged into the following series: books, stage plays, screenplays, radio plays, early material and articles. Papers related to individual works, including research notes, manuscripts, typescripts, and in some instances, correspondence and newscuttings, were kept together and largely filed within the relevant series. Whilst this arrangement may not necessarily reflect the author's original order, the sorting work was undertaken at Sue Townsend's own request, and as such, the order has been retained. However, over the intervening years more material was added to the collection and the filing cabinets became disorderd, necessitating the need for further sorting work to take place by the archivist. During this process, the literary papers were arranged to reflect the evolutionary pattern of each work and placed in chronological order by date of publication or performance. The remaining unsorted literary material, which had been kept in plastic bags or in records management boxes at a local solictors, was arranged in a similar fashion and amalgamated with the rest of the collection. Where there has been any significant deviation from the original arrangement of literary papers, a note has been made in the catalogue. The remaining papers in the collection have been arranged into series according to the format of the material, a method which best reflects the way in which much of the unsorted material was found, with correspondence, notebooks, business papers, personal papers and so forth being stored separately. The exception to this is correspondence related to individual literary texts. These letters have been retained with the literary papers of the works themselves, reflecting the way in which they were originally stored. The contents of obvious bundles or files created by Sue Townsend herself, or her sister Kate Boldry, have largely been kept together and retained in their original state. Where the files were simply modern document wallets or square cut folders, which are not suitable for storing archival material, they have been disposed of, although exact transcriptions of their titles have been provided in the catalogue. File covers and document wallets which have been used by Sue Townsend to make detailed notes have been retained alongside the material they originally contained.
AdminHistoryBorn in Leicester in 1946, Sue Townsend is the creator of the bestselling diarist, Adrian Mole. Having left school at fifteen, she became employed in a variety of jobs, including petrol pump attendant and shop assistant. She married at eighteen and had her first child a year later. Following the birth of two more children, she began working on an adventure playground situated on the Leicester estate on which her literary hero, Joe Orton, grew up. In 1978 her second husband pushed her into joining a writer's group at the Phoenix Arts Centre in Leicester after she admitted that she had been writing in secret for most of her adult life. This writing outlet led her to write her first play 'Womberang' for which she won a Thames Television Bursary as Writer in Residence. Having launched her professional writing career, she went on to write a number of successful plays, including 'Bazaar and Rummage' (1982) and 'The Great Celestial Cow' (1984), both of which were performed at the Royal Court Theatre. However, she is perhaps best known for the Adrian Mole diaries. The first of these, 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4' (1982) and its sequel, 'The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole' (1984) made her the bestselling author of the 1980s. They were followed by 4 more titles in the Adrian Mole series, which in total have sold over eight million copies and have been adapted for radio, television and theatre. Other bestselling works include 'The Queen and I' (1992) and 'Number 10' (2002). In 1991 she was awarded an Honorary MA by the University of Leicester. Sue Townsend died on 10 April 2014.

The Sue Townsend Collection: records relating to Sue Townsend, author and playwright (1946 - 2014)

AccessConditionsSome papers which are of a particularly sensitive nature, including some correspondence files, all financial records and some early personal papers are closed under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. More detailed information about closed records is provided at file level in the catalogue.
AccessStatusSome material may be unavailable for general access
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