Penguin Random House will “nurture, protect and champion” Sue Townsend’s work for years to come, c.e.o. Tom Weldon has said.
Speaking at an event to celebrate the late writer’s life and work at The British Library, Weldon made the promise to Townsend’s family, who were in attendance.
He also said Townsend would “be seen as one of the great comic writers this country has produced”.
“Sue was a passionate egalitarian,” Weldon said, “and she believed everyone had an equal right to an education and access to books and reading.”
During the evening, hosted by Townsend’s editor Louise Moore (pictured with Michael Palin and Adrian Scarborough), m.d. of Penguin Random House’s Michael Joseph division, there were a series of readings from Townsend’s work.
Actor Adrian Scarborough read an extract from the end of the first Adrian Mole book, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (Puffin), while Michael Palin read from Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (Penguin).
Television presenter Sue Perkins read from The Queen and I (Penguin), Townsend’s book about a republican party coming into power and the royal family being ejected from Buckingham Palace.
Meanwhile Townsend’s friend Carole Hayman read from The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year (Penguin), and actor Patrick Barlow read the final part of the last Adrian Mole book, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years (Penguin).
Other guests at the event included actor Stephen Mangan, who played Adrian Mole in a 2001 television adaptation of "Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years".
Townsend died in April this year after suffering a stroke.