HarperCollins has confirmed "with huge sadness" the death of "much loved author and friend" Louise Rennison.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher for the children’s division, said: “Publishing Louise was a joy. She was beautiful to know and saw the funny in everything. Bold, brave, irreverent and wise, she leaves us with a million happy memories and a legacy of laughter with her wonderful books.”
In a statement, HarperCollins said: "Nobody wrote for teenagers like she did, she understood them, their lives and their extraordinary and powerful friendships. In life, as in her writing, she brought joy and laughter. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and the readers whose lives she has touched for almost 20 years."
Born in 1951, Rennison was best known for her Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series for teenage girls, which was first published in the UK by Piccadilly Press, then HarperCollins Children’s Books.
The first and second books in the series, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It’s Ok, I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers, were adapted into a film, directed and adapted by Gurinda Chadha.
Rennison was named Queen of Teen in 2008 and won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2010 in the 7-14 category for Withering Tights (HCCB), part of the Misadventures of Tallulah Casey series. Her most recent book The Taming of the Tights, also in the same series, was published in 2013.
No further details have been released.
Melissa Cox, head of range at Waterstones, said Rennison was a “pioneering” writer of YA novels before the genre existed in its current form.
“Louise meant a lot to me personally as a reader, I came to her books via my local library as a teenager and they were a revelation; realistic and hysterically funny, she told The Bookseller. “Compared to the perfect American teenagers that peopled so much of contemporary teenage fiction back then, Georgia Nicolson, Dave the Laugh and the gang all seemed to me to be supremely real and just like my own friends.
“The books also taught me that girls were funny, because, pre-internet and social media, you didn’t get a lot of young women quipping, making puns or generally being silly. Years later, as a bookseller who was very new and unsure in the children’s department, I was relieved to see her books lined up on the shelves and to know that I would be able to endorse them with confidence.”
YA author Holly Borne said: "Louise Rennison was, without a doubt, my biggest influence as an author. I inhaled her books growing up. They were the first books that shone a mirror on what my life was like, and the sheer, hilarious giddiness of female friendships and the mad mishaps you get up to as a teenager. Her books were in a different realm of funny, and still, as adults, my friends and I will use all of Georgia's lingo. It's never cold, it's still nippy noodles. We never fancy someone, we still have the cosmic horn for them. I am absolutely devastated to hear that she's died, but I know her books and the hilarious legacy they leave, will keep people laughing like drains for many years to come."
Holly Smale, also a teen author, said Rennison "sparkled with energy and wit". She said: "Her sprite-like sense of humour was contagious, and it was clear in every line of her distinct, original and fearless writing. She was THE trail-blazer for teen comedy fiction, and - with the immortal, hilarious and beloved Georgia - she’ll remain unmatched. The book world will be a sadder place without her, but she’s given us an irrepressible piece of herself that will last forever.
Several authors expressed their dismay on social media. John Green said he was “very sad” at the news on Twitter, whilst Phil Earle tweeted: “When I was a bookseller we ran an event for Louise at Ottakar’s Putney. Her talk was so brilliantly rude that a librarian removed his whole class after about 10 minutes. He practically had to drag them out by their hair, as their eyes were wide with delight.”