Penguin is promising a "whole year of celebration" for Sue Townsend next year to mark the 30th anniversary of the publication of her most famous creation's diary.
January will see the issue of an anniversary edition of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾, with a full 64 pages of additional material about the spotty schoolboy and his world, including character biographies, family trees and timelines. The book will also carry a foreword from David Walliams, who votes the book "probably the biggest phenomenon of my youth after 'Star Wars'". The entire Adrian Mole backlist will also be rejacketed at the same time.
On 2nd February there will be a new Townsend novel, The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year, which tells the story of a mother—whose son and daughter have left for university—who simply climbs into her bed fully dressed one day, and decides not to leave it.
At the end of May, all Townsend's standalone novels will be reissued, including The Queen and I, which will be given frontlist treatment in retailer promotions because of the link to the Queen's Jubilee. In September, the paperback of The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year will follow.
Elizabeth Martin, Michael Joseph marketing director and associate publisher for paperbacks at Penguin, said the publisher was working on "a very big campaign", with "huge" radio and TV interest and lots of enthusiasm from retailers. She said: "It's an opportunity to totally celebrate Sue Townsend, who is one of the UK's best comic writers. Adrian lives in the public consciousness and there are so many parallels with today in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾—there's a Conservative government, a Royal Wedding, British soldiers fighting a war a long way away. Our teenage website Spinebreakers is very interested in the book because of all the parallels."